Study objectives: We tested the hypothesis that patients with narcolepsy have serum antibodies specific for preprohypocretin and its derivatives.
Design: 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.
Setting: 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.
Participants: 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.
Conclusions: 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.