Voltage-gated potassium channels containing the K.v.3.2 subunit are expressed in specific neuronal populations such as thalamocortical neurons and fast spiking GABAergic interneurons of the neocortex and hippocampus. These K(+)-channels play a major role in the regulation of firing properties in these neurons. We investigated whether the K.v.3.2 subunit contributes to the generation of the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG). The EEG of a frontal and occipital derivation of K.v.3.2-deficient mice and littermate controls was recorded during a 24-h baseline, 6-h sleep deprivation (SD) and subsequent 18-h recovery to assess also the effects of the K.v.3.2 subunit deficiency under physiological sleep pressure. The K.v.3.2-deficient mice had lower EEG power density in the frequencies between 3.25 and 6 Hz in nonREM (NREM) sleep and 3.25-5 Hz in REM sleep. These differences were more prominent in the frontal derivation than in the occipital derivation. The waking EEG spectrum was not affected by the deletion. In both genotypes SD induced a prominent increase in slow-wave activity in NREM sleep (mean EEG power density between 0.75 and 4.0 Hz), and a concomitant decrease in sleep fragmentation. The effects of SD did not differ significantly between the genotypes. The results indicate that K.v.3.2 channels may be involved in the generation of EEG oscillations in the high delta and low theta range in sleep. They support the notion that GABA-mediated synchronization of cortical activity contributes to the electroencephalogram.