Altered distribution of cholinergic cells in the narcoleptic dog.

TitleAltered distribution of cholinergic cells in the narcoleptic dog.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsNitz, D, Andersen A, Fahringer H, Nienhuis R, Mignot E, Siegel J
Date Published1995 Jul 31
Keywordsacetylcholine, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Brain Stem, Cell Count, Dogs, Histocytochemistry, NADPH Dehydrogenase, narcolepsy, Neurons

Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive sleepiness and episodes of cataplexy brought on by emotional excitation. Cataplexy and sleep paralysis have been hypothesized to be produced by the triggering during waking of brain stem cholinergic mechanisms normally acting to induce atonia in REM sleep. We hypothesized that narcoleptics have an abnormal number of LDT and/or PPN cholinergic neurons. A comparison was made of cholinergic cell numbers in the brain stems of normal and narcoleptic canines. Cholinergic neurons were identified by NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry. We found increased numbers of cholinergic neurons at the R6-R7 level of the LDT and PPN in narcoleptic canines. This abnormality can explain alterations in cholinergic receptor number, acetylcholine release, and the occurrence of cataplexy and sleep paralysis that characterize narcolepsy.

Alternate JournalNeuroreport