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See orexin.

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In this study, entitled "A mutation in early onset narcolepsy and a generalized absence of hypocretin peptides in narcoleptic brains," the authors found that in most patients with narcolepsy, there was no genetic defect for either the hypocretin receptor or its ligand, the hypocretin protein.
Background: Hypocretin (HCRT) signaling plays an important role in the pathogenesis of narcolepsy and can be significantly influenced by Chinese herbal therapy.
Jerome Siegel and his colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles have identified the group of neurons that mediates whether light arouses us and said that these cells release a neurotransmitter called hypocretin.
This chemical, called orexin by some scientists and hypocretin by others, is produced by a small pocket of neurons in the hypothalamus.
The gene, known as hypocretin receptor 2, codes for a protein that juts out from the surface of brain cells and that functions as an antenna, allowing the cell to receive messages -- transmitted via small molecules called hypocretins -- from other cells.
With their technique, they were able to watch synapses within individual hypocretin neurons, and they showed that the number of these connections fluctuated between day and night.
Neurons that make a wake-promoting protein called hypocretin die in people who have narcolepsy.
In the late 1990's, a team of scientists led by Thomas Kilduff discovered a group of neurons in the hypothalamus, which they named hypocretin cells.
Other researchers called the novel hormone hypocretin, and the terms remain interchangeable.
Human narcolepsy generally stems from a shortage of the neurons, which produce the excitatory neurotransmitter known both as hypocretin and orexin (SN: 29/2/00, p.
Narcolepsy associated with cataplexy is caused by a reduction or absence of neurons responsible for the production and release of a neurotransmitter called hypocretin.