Prolonged sleep restriction induces changes in pathways involved in cholesterol metabolism and inflammatory responses.
Sleep loss and insufficient sleep are risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, but data on how insufficient sleep contributes to these diseases are scarce. These questions were addressed using two approaches: an experimental, partial sleep restriction study (14 cases and 7 control subjects) with objective verification of sleep amount, and two independent epidemiological cohorts (altogether 2739 individuals) with questions of sleep insufficiency. In both approaches, blood transcriptome and serum metabolome were analysed. Sleep loss decreased the expression of genes encoding cholesterol transporters and increased expression in pathways involved in inflammatory responses in both paradigms. Metabolomic analyses revealed lower circulating large HDL in the population cohorts among subjects reporting insufficient sleep, while circulating LDL decreased in the experimental sleep restriction study. These findings suggest that prolonged sleep deprivation modifies inflammatory and cholesterol pathways at the level of gene expression and serum lipoproteins, inducing changes toward potentially higher risk for cardiometabolic diseases.