Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterised by loss of hypothalamic hypocretin (orexin) neurons. The prevalence of narcolepsy is about 30 per 100 000 people, and typical age at onset is 12-16 years. Narcolepsy is strongly associated with the HLA-DQB1*06:02 genotype, and has been thought of as an immune-mediated disease. Other risk genes, such as T-cell-receptor α chain and purinergic receptor subtype 2Y11, are also implicated. Interest in narcolepsy has increased since the epidemiological observations that H1N1 infection and vaccination are potential triggering factors, and an increase in the incidence of narcolepsy after the pandemic AS03 adjuvanted H1N1 vaccination in 2010 from Sweden and Finland supports the immune-mediated pathogenesis. Epidemiological observations from studies in China also suggest a role for H1N1 virus infections as a trigger for narcolepsy. Although the pathological mechanisms are unknown, an H1N1 virus-derived antigen might be the trigger.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology