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Psychiatr Genet. 2004 Mar;14(1):47-51.

A rare form of narcolepsy (HLA-DR2-) shows possible association with (functionally relevant) alpha-interferon gene polymorphisms.

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Department of Human Genetics, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.


Narcolepsy is a neuropsychiatric disease caused by complex disturbance of sleep regulation. The main symptoms comprise daytime sleepiness and cataplexy. Although the aetiology remains unclear so far, narcolepsy is genetically characterized by strong linkage to the human leukocyte antigen complex as more than 90% of the patients are typed HLA-DR2+. Recently, it has become apparent that the orexin (hypocretin) neurotransmitter system plays a key role in the pathogenesis of the disease. Canine narcolepsy is caused by mutations in the orexin receptor 2 gene, and narcoleptic patients show specifically decreased cerebrospinal fluid orexin levels. Decreased promotor activity of the prepro-orexin gene is caused by binding of alpha-interferon in vitro. To investigate the possible role of IFNA gene polymorphisms in the pathogenesis of narcolepsy, we have genotyped two single nucleotide polymorphisms in IFNA genes as well as a neighbouring microsatellite. No association was evident in the prevalent DR2+ group. Yet, the IFNA10 single nucleotide polymorphisms and the IFNA microsatellite are associated with the DR2- patient group. Thus, the pathogenetic role of interferons needs to be defined in DR2- narcolepsy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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