Navigation Links
Researcher IDs Narcolepsy as Autoimmune Disease
Date:5/4/2009

Discovery of 2 gene variants that kill off protective hormone could lead to new treatments

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Stanford University researchers say they have determined that the sleep disorder narcolepsy is actually an autoimmune disease.

The finding, published in the May 3 online issue of Nature Genetics, links narcolepsy to mutations of two genes involved in critical roles in protecting the body from disease. These two variations, they say, are likely conspirators against hypocretin, a hormone that promotes wakefulness, and that narcoleptics have been found to lack.

Narcolepsy causes excessive drowsiness, to the point of the person having brief but sudden bursts of sleep during the day. The condition, which affects about one in 2,000 people, also causes poor nighttime sleep patterns and even cataplexy -- a sudden loss of muscle tone and strength.

"This is a very important finding," sleep disorder expert Merrill Mitler, program director at the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said in a Stanford news release. "It puts in place another piece of the puzzle and shows a way to link [this gene variant] to hypocretin-containing neurons via an autoimmune attack."

The researchers conducted genetic studies on 1,800 people with a variant for the human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, gene, which helps the immune system identify foreign bodies it needs to eliminate to protect the body. Previous studies had linked the HLA variant to narcolepsy, a condition nearly half the study subjects had.

The Stanford team found that all the study participants with narcolepsy also had a mutated gene link to T-cells, which are vital cogs in all the body's immune responses.

Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, director of Stanford's Center for Narcolepsy, said it's likely that HLA and the T-cell variant interact in a way that kills hypocretin cells, although his team's findings did not determine that direct relationship.

"For a long time, people have suspected narcolepsy had something to do with the immune system -- that it was killing cells that produce hypocretin," Mignot, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, said in the news release. "But there hasn't been direct proof. Our discovery clearly shows narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease."

If further study can reveal the two mutations work together, scientists may be able to later identify people predisposed to narcolepsy and find ways to prevent its development, he said. It may also lead to discoveries concerning other more common autoimmune afflictions such as multiple sclerosis and juvenile diabetes.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about narcolepsy.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Stanford University School of Medicine, news release, May 3, 2009


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford researchers find culprit in aging muscles that heal poorly
2. Children of depressed moms do better when dad is involved, SLU researcher finds
3. UCLA researchers identify markers that may predict diabetes in still-healthy people
4. Mayo Clinic researchers discover new diagnostic test for detecting infection in prosthetic joints
5. Bipolar disorder relapses halved by Melbourne researchers
6. Cell that triggers symptoms in allergy attacks can also limit damage, Stanford researchers find
7. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
8. Researchers estimate about 9 percent of US children age 8 to 15 meet criteria for having ADHD
9. Majority of 2.4 Million U.S. Children With ADHD Not Diagnosed or Consistently Treated, According to New Gold Standard Study by Cincinnati Childrens Researchers
10. Researchers develop long-lasting growth hormone
11. UVa researcher awarded $3.6 million grant to fight drug-resistant bacteria
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Researcher IDs Narcolepsy as Autoimmune Disease
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of ... award to iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , ... Workplace Health & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may ... to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To ... for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new ... the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce they ... to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers provides ... life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue ... conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to 2022" ... The report contains up to date financial data ... analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on the ... analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, regional ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 , ... on Thursday, July 7, 2016 , , , , LOCATION: ... , , , , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , ... Senior Industry Analyst, Christi Bird; Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and ... The global pharmaceutical industry is witnessing an exceptional era. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: