Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Narcolepsy Study Finds Surprising Increase in Neurons That Produce Histamine

Published: Jun 04, 2013

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A new study provides surprising evidence that people with narcolepsy have an increased number of neurons that produce histamine, suggesting that histamine signaling may be a novel therapeutic target for this potentially disabling sleep disorder. "The orexin/hypocretin neuropeptides promote wakefulness, and researchers have known for 13 years that narcolepsy is caused by loss of the orexin/hypocretin neurons in the hypothalamus," said principal investigator Thomas Scammell, MD, professor of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. "We found that narcolepsy is also associated with a very large increase in the number of neurons producing histamine, another wake-promoting neurotransmitter.

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