Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique Recordings Of Brain Cell Activity Reveal Nature Of Narcolepsy, Treatment Avenues

Date:
June 12, 2005
Source:
University Of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Summary:
UCLA/Veterans Affairs neuroscientists have pinpointed the electrical "signature" of the brain cells whose loss causes human narcolepsy, and made the first recordings of their activity. Made in freely moving rats in waking and across the sleep cycle, these recordings show hypocretin neurons are active during excitement generated by positive emotions and by interest in one's surroundings.

UCLA/Veterans Affairs neuroscientists have pinpointed the electrical "signature" of the brain cells whose loss causes human narcolepsy, and made the first recordings of their activity. Made in freely moving rats in waking and across the sleep cycle, these recordings show hypocretin neurons are active during excitement generated by positive emotions and by interest in one's surroundings. The study also reveals that these cells counteract weakness brought on by positive emotion and play a key role in maintaining brain alertness.

Human narcolepsy is caused by a loss of cells in the brain's hypothalamus that contain the protein hypocretin (also called orexin). This discovery was made by this same group and colleagues and published in September 2000. In human narcoleptics, cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscle tone that can cause an individual to fall to the floor, is triggered by laughter, sexual activity and related pleasant activities, but not by pain or aversive situations. In normal humans, a similar weakness accompanies laughter ("doubling up with laughter") and certain emotions, but the weakness is limited, never resulting in cataplexy. The current study reveals the neuronal mechanisms responsible for maintaining alertness and limiting emotionally triggered weakness.

The study explains the persistent sleepiness of narcolepsy and reveals the existence of a brain system that is most active during rewarding, positive experiences. Preliminary work indicates that replacement of the natural wake-inducing chemical hypocretin can prevent cataplexy and reverse the sleepiness of narcolepsy.

The senior author is Dr. Jerome Siegel, professor-in-residence at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and chief of neurobiology research at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Sepulveda.

The research appears in the June 2 edition of Neuron.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health and Medical Research Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. "Unique Recordings Of Brain Cell Activity Reveal Nature Of Narcolepsy, Treatment Avenues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050612112904.htm>.
University Of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. (2005, June 12). Unique Recordings Of Brain Cell Activity Reveal Nature Of Narcolepsy, Treatment Avenues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050612112904.htm
University Of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. "Unique Recordings Of Brain Cell Activity Reveal Nature Of Narcolepsy, Treatment Avenues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050612112904.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins