Clozapine is an atypical neuroleptic agent, effective in treating drug-resistant schizophrenia. The aim of this work was to investigate overall sleep architecture and sleep spindle morphology characteristics, before and after combination treatment with clozapine, in patients with drug-resistant schizophrenia who underwent polysomnography.
Standard polysomnographic techniques were used. To quantify the sleep spindle morphology, a modeling technique was used that quantifies time-varying patterns in both the spindle envelope and the intraspindle frequency.
After combination treatment with clozapine, the patients showed clinical improvement. In addition, their overall sleep architecture and, more importantly, parameters that quantify the time-varying sleep spindle morphology were affected. Specifically, the results showed increased stage 2 sleep, reduced slow-wave sleep, increased rapid eye movement sleep, increased total sleep time, decreased wake time after sleep onset, as well as effects on spindle amplitude and intraspindle frequency parameters. However, the above changes in overall sleep architecture were statistically nonsignificant trends.
The findings concerning statistically significant effects on spindle amplitude and intraspindle frequency parameters may imply changes in cortical sleep EEG generation mechanisms, as well as changes in thalamic pacing mechanisms or in thalamo–cortical network dynamics involved in sleep EEG generation, as a result of combination treatment with clozapine.
Sleep spindle parameters may serve as metrics for the eventual development of effective EEG biomarkers to investigate treatment effects and pathophysiological mechanisms in schizophrenia.