Chronic Sleep Disturbances Alters Sleep Structure and Tau Phosphorylation in AβPP/PS1 AD Mice and Their Wild-Type Littermates

Feng Zhang, Long Niu, Rujia Zhong, Song Li, Weidong Le

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence indicates that sleep disorders are the common non-cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and they may contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aim to investigate the effect of chronic sleep deprivation (CSD) on AD-related pathologies with a focus on tau phosphorylation and the underlying DNA methylation regulation. METHODS: AβPPswe/PS1ΔE9 AD mice and their wild-type (WT) littermates were subjected to a two-month CSD followed by electroencephalography and electromyography recording. The mice were examined for learning and memory evaluation, then pathological, biochemical, and epigenetic assessments including western blotting, immunofluorescence, dot blotting, and bisulfite sequencing. RESULTS: The results show that CSD caused sleep disturbances shown as sleep pattern change, poor sleep maintenance, and increased sleep fragmentation. CSD increased tau phosphorylation at different sites and increased the level of tau kinases in AD and WT mice. The increased expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) may result from decreased DNA methylation of CpG sites in the promoter region of CDK5 gene, which might be associated with the downregulation of DNA methyltransferase 3A and 3B. CONCLUSION: CSD altered AD-related tau phosphorylation through epigenetic modification of tau kinase gene. The findings in this study may give insights into the mechanisms underlying the effects of sleep disturbances on AD pathology and provide new therapeutic targets for the treatment of this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1355
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • DNA methylation
  • epigenetics
  • sleep disturbances
  • tau pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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