Evaluating the links between schizophrenia and sleep and circadian rhythm disruption.
Pritchett D., Wulff K., Oliver PL., Bannerman DM., Davies KE., Harrison PJ., Peirson SN., Foster RG.
Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption (SCRD) and schizophrenia are often co-morbid. Here, we propose that the co-morbidity of these disorders stems from the involvement of common brain mechanisms. We summarise recent clinical evidence that supports this hypothesis, including the observation that the treatment of SCRD leads to improvements in both the sleep quality and psychiatric symptoms of schizophrenia patients. Moreover, many SCRD-associated pathologies, such as impaired cognitive performance, are routinely observed in schizophrenia. We suggest that these associations can be explored at a mechanistic level by using animal models. Specifically, we predict that SCRD should be observed in schizophrenia-relevant mouse models. There is a rapidly accumulating body of evidence which supports this prediction, as summarised in this review. In light of these emerging data, we highlight other models which warrant investigation, and address the potential challenges associated with modelling schizophrenia and SCRD in rodents. Our view is that an understanding of the mechanistic overlap between SCRD and schizophrenia will ultimately lead to novel treatment approaches, which will not only ameliorate SCRD in schizophrenia patients, but also will improve their broader health problems and overall quality of life.