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Immune system turns on the body in narcolepsy

Date:
February 17, 2010
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
It is thought that the sleep disorder narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder -- that is, it is caused by the individual's immune system attacking certain cells in the body -- but this had not been proven definitively. But now, researchers have now identified autoantibodies (immune molecules that target a natural protein in the body rather than a protein from an infectious agent) in narcolepsy patients.
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It is thought that the sleep disorder narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder -- that is, it is caused by the individual's immune system attacking certain cells in the body -- but this had not been proven definitively. But now, researchers have now identified autoantibodies (immune molecules that target a natural protein in the body rather than a protein from an infectious agent) in narcolepsy patients.

Individuals with the sleep disorder narcolepsy suffer with excessive daytime sleepiness and attacks of muscle paralysis triggered by strong emotions (a condition known as cataplexy). It is thought that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder -- that is, it is caused by the individual's immune system attacking certain cells in the body -- but this has not yet been proven definitively.

However, Mehdi Tafti and colleagues, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have now identified autoantibodies (immune molecules that target a natural protein in the body rather than a protein from an infectious agent) that target the natural protein Trib2 in narcolepsy patients with cataplexy, suggesting that narcolepsy is indeed an autoimmune disorder.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vesna Cvetkovic-Lopes, Laurence Bayer, Stéphane Dorsaz, Stéphanie Maret, Sylvain Pradervand, Yves Dauvilliers, Michel Lecendreux, Gert-Jan Lammers, Claire E.h.m. Donjacour, Renaud A. Du Pasquier, Corinne Pfister, Brice Petit, Hyun Hor, Michel Mühlethaler and Mehdi Tafti. Elevated Tribbles homolog 2-specific antibody levels in narcolepsy patients. J Clin Invest., DOI: 10.1172/JCI41366

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Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune system turns on the body in narcolepsy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215173947.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2010, February 17). Immune system turns on the body in narcolepsy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215173947.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Immune system turns on the body in narcolepsy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100215173947.htm (accessed May 24, 2015).

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