Sleep Deprivation Can Induce Symptoms Resembling Schizophrenia

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ettinger Departments of Psychology University of Bonn Bonn, Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ettinger
Departments of Psychology
University of Bonn
Bonn, Germany

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Prof. Ettinger: We found that 24-hour sleep deprivation induced subjective cognitive, perceptual and emotional alterations resembling the symptoms of schizophrenia. We also observed that sleep deprivation led to a deficit in a sensorimotor filter mechanism called prepulse inhibition (PPI), similar to the disturbance seen in schizophrenia.

Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Prof. Ettinger: The magnitude of the impairment in prepulse inhibition was quite astonishing.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Prof. Ettinger: We believe that our findings support the validity of sleep deprivation as an experimental model system of schizophrenia. This means, that future antipsychotic drug development studies may build upon our findings by testing new compounds for their efficacy on PPI following sleep deprivation.”

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Prof. Ettinger: We would like to replicate and extend these findings by combining our design with the administration of an established, clinically effective antipsychotic. It will be intriguing to find out whether a drug with known antipsychotic effects will prevent and/or reverse the prepulse inhibition deficit that is produced by sleep deprivation.


Sleep deprivation disrupts prepulse inhibition and induces psychosis-like symptoms in healthy humans

Petrovsky N1, Ettinger U2, Hill A1, Frenzel L1, Meyhöfer I1, Wagner M3, Backhaus J1, Kumari V4.

J Neurosci. 2014 Jul 2;34(27):9134-40. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0904-14.2014.

Last Updated on July 8, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD