We tested the hypothesis that patients with narcolepsy have serum antibodies specific for preprohypocretin and its derivatives.
We tested sera from strictly diagnosed HLA DQB1*0602-positive narcoleptic patients with cataplexy for evidence of autoantibodies against human preprohypocretin, hypocretin 1 and 2, N-terminal leader and C-terminal peptides of preprohypocretin using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). These results were compared to samples from nonnarcoleptic psychiatric and sleep apnea controls. Laboratory personnel were blinded to subject status.
Narcoleptic patients and nonnarcoleptic controls were recruited from the Mayo Clinic facilities in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida. Laboratory testing was conducted in the Mayo Psychogenomic Laboratory at the Rochester Mayo Clinic.
A sample of 34 narcoleptic patients and 49 nonnarcoleptic controls.
Measurements and Results:
ELISA measurements were in optical density. Primary analyses were of the entire narcoleptic and control groups for each potential antigen, and none of the differences reached P values required for significance after Bonferroni adjustment. Secondary analyses by age and sex yielded P values that were significant after Bonferroni adjustment in only 2 cases, but further statistical analyses cast doubt on the veracity of these differences. In all cases where a significant difference was recorded, the hypothesis was not supported because the control optical density reading was higher than the narcoleptic values.
These ELISA assay results do not support the hypothesis that HLA DQB1*0602-positive narcolepsy with cataplexy is associated with serum antibodies against preprohypocretin or its cleavage products.