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Sleep. 1986;9(1 Pt 2):153-8.

HLA antigens in narcolepsy and idiopathic central nervous system hypersomnolence.


Several studies have shown familial incidence of narcolepsy and idiopathic central nervous system (CNS) hypersomnia. HLA antigen studies performed in mongoloid and caucasoid narcoleptic patients on the A, B, and C loci have yielded conflicting results. The aim of this study is to document a possible association between the HLA system, including the DR locus and excessive daytime somnolence. Thirty-one narcoleptic patients and 10 idiopathic hypersomniac patients were selected and typed for 54 HLA antigens. A family with narcoleptic members in 3 generations was also studied. HLA-DR2 was found in 100% of narcoleptic patients. The frequency of HLA-A3 and B7, which are in linkage disequilibrium with DR2 was also increased in this group. Idiopathic hypersomniac patients showed an increase of HLA-Cw2, DR5, and B27, three antigens known to be in linkage disequilibrium. In the family study, narcoleptic patients were also HLA-DR2; moreover, 3 subjects, one of whom was narcoleptic, were HLA-DR2 as a result of recombination (i.e., genetic crossing-over). These results locate the hypothetic gene associated with narcolepsy more precisely, and indicate that narcolepsy and idiopathic CNS hypersomnolence are two different entities.

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