Reduced number of hypocretin neurons in human narcolepsy.

TitleReduced number of hypocretin neurons in human narcolepsy.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsThannickal TC, Moore RY, Nienhuis R, Ramanathan L, Gulyani S, Aldrich M, Cornford M, Siegel JM
Date Published2000 Sep
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Astrocytes, Brain, Carrier Proteins, Cell Count, Female, Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein, Gliosis, Humans, Hypothalamic Hormones, Hypothalamus, Immunohistochemistry, Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Male, Melanins, Middle Aged, Narcolepsy, Neurons, Neuropeptides, Neurotransmitter Agents, Orexins, Pituitary Hormones

Murine and canine narcolepsy can be caused by mutations of the hypocretin (Hcrt) (orexin) precursor or Hcrt receptor genes. In contrast to these animal models, most human narcolepsy is not familial, is discordant in identical twins, and has not been linked to mutations of the Hcrt system. Thus, the cause of human narcolepsy remains unknown. Here we show that human narcoleptics have an 85%-95% reduction in the number of Hcrt neurons. Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons, which are intermixed with Hcrt cells in the normal brain, are not reduced in number, indicating that cell loss is relatively specific for Hcrt neurons. The presence of gliosis in the hypocretin cell region is consistent with a degenerative process being the cause of the Hcrt cell loss in narcolepsy.

Alternate JournalNeuron
PubMed ID11055430
Grant ListHL41370 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
HL6029C / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
NS14610 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States