Antibodies against hypocretin receptor 2 are rare in narcolepsy

Maria Pia Giannoccaro, Patrick Waters, Fabio Pizza, Rocco Liguori, Giuseppe Plazzi, Angela Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objectives: Recently, antibodies to the hypocretin receptor 2 (HCRTR2-Abs) were reported in a high proportion of narcolepsy patients who developed the disease following Pandemrix vaccination. We tested a group of narcolepsy patients for the HCRTR2-Abs using a newly established cellbased assay. Methods: Sera from 50 narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) and 11 narcolepsy type 2 (NT2) patients, 22 patients with other sleep disorders, 15 healthy controls, and 93 disease controls were studied. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSFs) from three narcoleptic patients were subsequently included. Human embryonic kidney cells were transiently transfected with human HCRTR2, incubated with patients' sera for 1 hr at 1:20 dilution and then fixed. Binding of antibodies was detected by fluorescently labeled secondary antibodies to human immunoglobulin G (IgG) and the different IgG subclasses. A nonlinear visual scoring system was used from 0 to 4; samples scoring ?1 were considered positive. Results: Only 3 (5%) of 61 patients showed a score ?1, one with IgG1-and two with IgG3-antibodies, but titers were low (1:40-1:100). CSFs from these patients were negative. The three positive patients included one NT1 case with associated psychotic features, one NT2 patient, and an NT1 patient with normal hypocretin CSF levels. Conclusions: Low levels of IgG1 or IgG3 antibodies against HCRTR2 were found in 3 of 61 patients with narcolepsy, although only 1 presented with full-blown NT1. HCRTR2-Abs are not common in narcolepsy unrelated to vaccination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsw056
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Antibodies
  • Autoimmune
  • HCRTR2
  • Narcolepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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