Reduced numbers of corticotropin-releasing hormone neurons in narcolepsy type 1

Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) is a chronic sleep disorder correlated with loss of hypocretin(orexin). In NT1 post-mortem brains, we observed 88% reduction in corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-positive neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and significantly less CRH-positive fibers in the median eminence, while CRH-neurons in the locus coeruleus and thalamus, and other PVN neuronal populations were spared: i.e. vasopressin, oxytocin, tyrosine hydroxylase and thyrotropin releasing hormone-expressing neurons. Other hypothalamic cell groups, i.e. the suprachiasmatic, ventrolateral preoptic, infundibular and supraoptic nuclei and nucleus basalis of Meynert were unaffected. The surprising selective decrease in CRH-neurons provide novel targets for diagnostics and therapeutic interventions.

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