Sleep and sensory processing in the Nrxn1α-deficient mouse model

Activity: Talk and presentationAcademic presentationAcademic


Sleep problems are common in autistic people and can significantly impact mental health and quality of life, but remain poorly understood. Sleep is
a domain that is well-suited to a translational approach, since sleep/wake cycles can be studied using comparable paradigms across the lifespan
and in animal models; this provides potential new routes to treatment for sleep problems. We present four datasets that provide converging
evidence of the aetiological relevance of sleep differences in autism. Ostergaard shows that neurexin1-deficient mice (a genetic change that
is commonly associated with autism) show differences in both sleep quantity and quality. Begum-Ali shows that differences in sleep emerge
by 14 months in infants with later autism, and predict both autistic traits and behavioral measures of sensory hypersensitivity in toddlerhood.
Oakley shows that children with genetic syndromes linked to autism (PMS) show reduced sleep at night. Finally, Kyllainen presents data on the
acceptability and feasibility of interventions targeted at supporting sleep for toddlers with emerging autistic traits. Taken together, our work shows
that sleep is a translationally-relevant domain that is altered in both genetic models of autism, in infants prior to symptom onset, and children with
genetic syndromes, and is a tractable target for intervention.
Event titleINSAR 2023: International Society for Autism Research Annual Meeting
Event typeConference
Conference number22
LocationStockholm, SwedenShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational