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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Aug;35(7):1001-7. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.01.001. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Low cerebrospinal fluid and plasma orexin-A (hypocretin-1) concentrations in combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0559, USA.

Erratum in

  • Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 Jan;63:410.


The hypothalamic neuropeptide, orexin-A has a number of regulatory effects in humans and pre-clinical evidence suggests a link to neuroendocrine systems known to be pathophysiologically related to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are no reports of central nervous system (CNS) or peripheral orexin-A concentrations in patients with PTSD, or any anxiety disorder. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma levels of orexin-A were serially determined in patients with PTSD and healthy comparison subjects to characterize the relationships between orexin-A (in the CNS and peripheral circulation) and central indices of monoaminergic neurotransmission and to determine the degree to which CNS orexin-A concentrations reflect those in the circulating blood. CSF and plasma samples were obtained serially over a 6-h period in 10 male combat veterans with chronic PTSD and 10 healthy male subjects through an indwelling subarachnoid catheter. Orexin-A concentrations were determined in plasma and CSF and CSF levels of the serotonin metabolite, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5-HIAA), and the dopamine metabolite, homovanillic acid (HVA), were determined over the sampling period. CSF and plasma orexin-A concentrations were significantly lower in the patients with PTSD as compared with healthy comparison subjects at all time points. In addition, CSF orexin-A concentrations strongly and negatively correlated with PTSD severity as measured by the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) in patients with PTSD. Peripheral and CNS concentrations of orexin-A were correlated in the healthy comparison subjects and peripheral orexin-A also correlated with CNS serotonergic tone. These findings suggest low central and peripheral orexin-A activity in patients with chronic PTSD are related to symptom severity and raise the possibility that orexin-A is part of the pathophysiological mechanisms of combat-related PTSD.

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