Relationship of central pattern generators with parasomnias and sleep-related epileptic seizures

Carlo Alberto Tassinari, Elena Gardella, Gaetano Cantalupo, Guido Rubboli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Central pattern generators (CPGs) are genetically determined neural circuits that produce self-sustained patterns of behavior that subserve innate motor activities essential for survival. In higher primates, CPGs are largely under neocortical control. Certain motor manifestations observed in parasomnias and epileptic seizures share similar semiological features resembling motor behaviors, which can be the expression of the same CPG. Epilepsy and sleep can lead to a temporary loss of control of neocortex on lower neural structures. We suggest that this transitory neocortical dysfunction facilitates the emergence of stereotyped inborn motor patterns that depend on the activation of the same CPGs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalSleep Medicine Clinics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Arousal
  • Central pattern generators
  • Parasomnias
  • Sleep-related epileptic seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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