de Lecea Lab Receives Grant to Study Sleep Fragmentation Mechanism in Alzheimer’s Disease
May 4, 2023
Congratulations to Stanford Psychiatry’s Luis de Lecea, who was awarded a grant by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) for a new project on sleep in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
The project, “Mechanisms of sleep fragmentation in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease,” aims to expand upon research that has proposed a link between sleep patterns and AD. The study will build upon a newly identified mechanism of sleep fragmentation in aged animals to determine if and how sleep enhancement can ultimately improve cognitive functioning in mice.
Sleep fragmentation is characterized by repetitive short interruptions of sleep. “AD is one the leading causes of dementia characterized by impaired cognitive functions and nocturnally disrupted sleep patterns in late adult life,” writes Dr. de Lecea in the abstract, “patients with AD usually require institutional care, which is a tremendous burden on the caregivers.” There is “high translational potential” to apply these findings and slow disease progression in elderly AD patients.
“We will study the activity of wake-promoting and sleep-active neurons in mouse models of AD, and to restore arousal circuit excitability to stabilize sleep,” writes Dr. de Lecea. “These experiments may lead to dramatic improvements in the quality of life of people diagnosed with AD and their caregivers.”
Dr. de Lecea leads the de Lecea Lab at Stanford University, which studies the role of neuromodulators in neural circuits and behaviors, particularly in mammals. Recent work from the lab include “Hyperexcitable arousal circuits drive sleep instability during aging” published in Science, “A tool for monitoring cell type-specific focused ultrasound neuromodulations and control of chronic epilepsy” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and “Adolescent sleep shapes social novelty preference in mice” in Nature Neuroscience.