PROJECT 3 SEROTONIN AND SLEEP DISORDERED BREATHING IN PARKINSON DISEASE Sleep disturbance and excessive daytime somnolence are important non-motor/non-dopaminergic features of Parkinson disease (PD). Sleep disruption in PD is likely multifactorial but recent evidence suggests a high prevalence of sleep disordered breathing in PD, a surprising finding in view of the tendency for PD subjects to lose weight during their illness. PD is clearly a multisystem neurodegeneration with evidence indicating degeneration of central serotoninergic systems. Caudal brainstem serotoninergic neurons are key actors in controlling upper airway patency during sleep and degeneration of this group of neurons would be a plausible cause of sleep disordered breathing in PD. Our hypothesis is that loss of caudal brainstem serotoninergic neurons causes SDB in PD. We will evaluate this hypothesis by comparing the caudal brainstem [11C]DASB binding, a measure of serotoninergic neurons, in PD subjects with and without SDB. We predict greater loss of caudal brainstem [11C]DASB binding in PD subjects with SBD than in PD subjects without SDB. We predict an inverse correlation between indices of SDB and caudal brainstem [11C]DASB binding in PD subjects.

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