Reversal of the sleep/wake cycle disorder of sleeping sickness after trypanosomicide treatment
To determine whether the circadian disruption of the sleep/wake cycle observed in sleeping sickness, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), can be reversed after trypanosomicide treatment, 10 Congolese patients infected by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense underwent 24-h polysomnographic recordings before treatment with melarsoprol and after each of three weekly treatment sessions. Polysomnography consisted of a continuous recording of the electroencephalogram, electromyogram and electro-oculogram on a Minidix Alvar polygraph. Sleep traces were analysed in 20-sec epochs for wakefulness, REM sleep, and NREM sleep [stages 1, 2, 3, 4; stages 3 and 4 representing slow-wave sleep (SWS)]. As previously described (Buguet et al. 1993), the 24-h distribution of the sleep/wake cycle was disturbed proportionally to the severity of the illness. The overall amounts of each sleep/wake stage did not change after treatment. However, the patterns of occurrence of sleep episodes, REM sleep and SWS phases were determinant in the evaluation of treatment efficacy. The trypanosomicide action of melarsoprol led to a reduction in the number of sleep episodes, except in one patient whose health condition worsened during the third treatment session: sleep onset REM sleep phases (SOREMPs) decreased and the number of SWS episodes during a sleep episode increased. We conclude that in HAT, the reversibility of the sleep/wake cycle alteration and that of sleep structure constitute the basis for an evaluation of the healing process.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1999-09-01