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The effects of RS-86 on sleep with respect to depression and HLA-type
In major depression shortening of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep latency is regarded as a characteristic biological abnormality. Depressed patients exhibit a more pronounced shift towards an earlier onset of REM sleep, especially after cholinergic stimulation (cRIT), e.g. with the muscarinic agonist RS-86. To investigate whether REM sleep dysregulation represents a trait marker for major depression we are conducting a study with healthy subjects without any diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, but who are at high risk because of a strong family history of affective disorders. These high-risk probands (HRPs, n=23) showed a significant shortened REM latency after cholinergic stimulation compared to control subjects. These findings suggest that a REM sleep dysregulation not overt under basal conditions may be demasked by cRIT. In an ongoing study we examine REM sleep dysregulation with the cRIT in healthy subjects with respect to the HLA-DR2-system and other biological indicators related to affective disorders.