Cerebrospinal fluid cytokine levels in type 1 narcolepsy patients very close to onset

Birgitte Rahbek Kornum, Fabio Pizza, Stine Knudsen, Giuseppe Plazzi, Poul Jennum, Emmanuel Mignot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 1 narcolepsy is caused by a loss of hypocretin (orexin) signaling in the brain. Genetic data suggests the disorder is caused by an autoimmune attack on hypocretin producing neurons in hypothalamus. This hypothesis has however not yet been confirmed by consistent findings of autoreactive antibodies or T-cells in patient samples. One explanation for these negative results may be that the autoimmune process is no longer active when patients present to the clinic. With increasing awareness in recent years, more and more patients have been diagnosed closer and closer to disease onset. In this study, we tested whether an active immune process in the brain could be detected in these patients, as reflected by increased cytokine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Using multiplex analysis, we measured the levels of 51 cytokines and chemokines in the CSF of 40 type 1 narcolepsy patients having varying disease duration. For comparison, we used samples from 9 healthy controls and 9 patients with other central hypersomnia. Cytokine levels did not differ significantly between controls and patients, even in 5 patients with disease onset less than a month prior to CSF sampling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-58
Number of pages5
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Autoimmunity
  • Cataplexy
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines
  • Hypocretin
  • Narcolepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems


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