Sleep deprivation is a broad concept. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sleep deperavation includes a wide range of disturbances including; sleeping at the wrong time of day, not sleeping well enough, not getting all of the different types of sleep that your body needs or having sleep disorder that prevents you from getting quality sleep. Regardless of the type of sleep issue, it’s been found that total sleep deprivation (sleep loss) increases daytime sleepiness and decreases sustained attention and executive cognitive processes.
In the past, several studies have shown an association between cognitive performances and ADORA2A and the adenosine deaminase (ADA) polymorphisms during conditions of sleep deprivation or nap sleep. The genetic influence of the pro-inflammatory cytokine, the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) has also been demonstrated to play a role in the occurrence of inter-individual differences in vulnerability to neurobehavioral impairments during sleep loss.
A recent study showed the influence of the adenosine A2a receptor (ADORA2A) genetic polymorphisms on the risk of sleep complaints and insomnia in 1023 active workers. In this study, researchers explored the influence of 14 SNPs (SNPs selected were because of previously published studies) on the performance degradation of sustained attention using the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) and executive function using the inhibition Go/noGo task during sleep deprivation (continuous wakefulness for 38 h) in 47 healthy subjects. The PVT is one of the most sensitive and easily reproducible cognitive tests to sleep deprivation-related sleep pressure. In a computer-based version of the 10 min PVT, subjects were asked to respond, by clicking the left mouse button, to the appearance of a visual stimulus (a millisecond counter) as quickly as possible without making false starts. Essentially meant to track the distraction level of subjects. In this test, the stimulus interval varies randomly The inter-stimulus y from 2 to 10 s, and the number of PVT lapses of attention is defined as reaction time >500 ms.. Results showed that carriers of the A allele for ADORA2A gene (rs5751862) and TNF-α gene (rs1800629) had a significantly higher number of PVT lapses (more impaired sustained attention) than their respective ancestral G/G genotypes during sleep deprivation. In addition, carriers of the ancestral G/G genotype of ADORA2A rs5751862 were found to be very similar to the most resilient subjects for PVT lapses.
There are some limitations in this work, similar to other studies. One of these is the limited number of subjects (only 47). So further research is needed to investigate involving other behavioral factors that contribute sleep loss, which is sometimes more influential than the genetic impact, such as physical activity >2 h/week or coffee/energy drink consumption. In addition, future studies could try to recruit a larger population and more diversified profile population (age, gender, lifestyle habits). If you would like to know more about this research, you can read the study here:
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