Author(s): Crocker A, Espaa RA, Papadopoulou M, Saper CB, Faraco J,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Narcolepsy with cataplexy is associated with a loss of orexin/hypocretin. It is speculated that an autoimmune process kills the orexin-producing neurons, but these cells may survive yet fail to produce orexin. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether other markers of the orexin neurons are lost in narcolepsy with cataplexy. METHODS: We used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to examine the expression of orexin, neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin (NARP), and prodynorphin in hypothalami from five control and two narcoleptic individuals. RESULTS: In the control hypothalami, at least 80\% of the orexin-producing neurons also contained prodynorphin mRNA and NARP. In the patients with narcolepsy, the number of cells producing these markers was reduced to about 5 to 10\% of normal. CONCLUSIONS: Narcolepsy with cataplexy is likely caused by a loss of the orexin-producing neurons. In addition, loss of dynorphin and neuronal activity-regulated pentraxin may contribute to the symptoms of narcolepsy.
This article was published in Neurology
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination