Neurochemistry of the Sleep-Wake Cycle in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Amanda A. H. FreemanEmail author


Many Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients struggle with excessive daytime sleepiness independent of their poor nocturnal sleep quality. Unexplained by comorbid conditions, these symptoms are inherent to the underlying neuropathology of the disease. Widespread neurodegeneration in PD affects multiple neurotransmitter systems critical for regulating the sleep-wake cycle including: dopamine, acetylcholine, hypocretin/orexin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and melanin-concentrating hormone. Disruptions in these interconnected signaling pathways reduce arousal through both direct and indirect (i.e., positive and negative feedback loops) mechanisms. This chapter reviews the role of each of these neurotransmitter systems in sleep-wake regulation and how degeneration of these nuclei may contribute to deficits in the sleep-wake cycle of PD patients.


Locus Coeruleus Basal Forebrain Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Dorsal Raphe Histaminergic Neuron 
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© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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