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Neurology. 2005 Oct 25;65(8):1184-8. Epub 2005 Sep 14.

Concomitant loss of dynorphin, NARP, and orexin in narcolepsy.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

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.

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