Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Gene Linked to Sleepwalking

Sleeping Disorders May Run in Families for Genetic Reasons

WebMD Health News

Feb. 14, 2003 -- Can't get a good night's sleep? You may have your parents to blame. A new study adds sleepwalking to the list of sleeping disorders linked to a specific genetic marker.

Genes called HLA are part of the immune system, and a variation called HLA-DQB1 is also associated with sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and REM sleep disorder.

In this study, researchers compared the genetic profile of 60 people with a sleepwalking disorder and their families with 60 ethnically matched people without any diagnosed sleeping disorder. They found that 21 of the sleepwalkers (35%) had the HLA-DQB1 gene, compared with only eight (13%) of the healthy subjects.

Researcher M. Lecendreux, of the Service de Psychopathologie de l'Enfant et de l'Adolescent at the Hôpital Robert Dobré in Paris, and colleagues say this is the first genetic marker for sleepwalking. Their findings appear in the current issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

In addition, researchers say the discovery of this common genetic link between sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder might explain why many patients suffer from both disorders. They also write that their study may show a close relationship between the immune system and sleep, but this was not investigated further.

SOURCE: Molecular Psychiatry, Vol. 8, no. 1, 2003.


Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy