Expert Commentary

Reward-Seeking Behavior in Human Narcolepsy

Dr. Rolf Fronczek

Since the discovery of the hypocretin/orexin system approximately 15 years ago, much has been learned about its role in the regulation of sleep and wake. Studies demonstrate that hypocretin/orexin promotes wakefulness, whereas the loss of the neurotransmitter signaling causes narcolepsy. Although the role of the hypocretin/orexin system is best characterized as regards sleep and wakefulness, other studies have investigated its role in other processes including Alzheimer’s disease and appetite. Dr Fronczek and colleagues have begun to characterize a role for the hypocretin/orexin system in the regulation of reward processing and addiction. In particular, the investigators found differential risk-taking behaviors and psychiatric symptoms between narcoleptics with and without cataplexy. In this video commentary, Dr Fronczek discusses recent findings that he and his colleagues uncovered.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677900

References

  1. Dimitrova A, Fronczek R, Van der Ploeg J, Scammell T, Gautam S, Pascual-Leone A, Lammers GJ. Reward-seeking behavior in human narcolepsy. J Clin Sleep Med. 2011; 15;7(3):293-300.
  2. España RA, Scammell TE. Sleep neurobiology from a clinical perspective. Sleep. 2011;34(7):845-58.
  3. de Lecea L, Kilduff TS, Peyron C, Gao X, Foye PE, Danielson PE, Fukuhara C, Battenberg EL, Gautvik VT, Bartlett FS 2nd, Frankel WN, van den Pol AN, Bloom FE, Gautvik KM, Sutcliffe JG. The hypocretins: hypothalamus-specific peptides with neuroexcitatory activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998;95(1):322-7.
  4. Nishino S, Mignot E. Narcolepsy and cataplexy. Handb Clin Neurol. 2011;99:783-814.
  5. Sakurai T, Amemiya A, Ishii M, Matsuzaki I, Chemelli RM, Tanaka H, Williams SC, Richardson JA, Kozlowski GP, Wilson S, Arch JR, Buckingham RE, Haynes AC, Carr SA, Annan RS, McNulty DE, Liu WS, Terrett JA, Elshourbagy NA, Bergsma DJ, Yanagisawa M. Orexins and orexin receptors: a family of hypothalamic neuropeptides and G protein-coupled receptors that regulate feeding behavior. Cell. 1998;92(4):573-85.
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