Background: The orexins (hypocretins) and cocaine and amphetamine regulated transcript (CART) are hypothalamic peptides involved in the regulation of sleep and appetite. We have previously shown that levels of both orexin-A and CART in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are related to specific psychiatric symptoms.
Methods: Ten patients took part in lumbar punctures and psychiatric evaluations in conjunction to a suicide attempt and after 6 and 12 months. We measured CSF-orexin and CART using radioimmunoassays.
Results: Mean CSF-orexin was significantly higher at the first and second follow-up than at the suicide attempt. In contrast, mean CSF-CART did not differ over time. Total SUAS scores, as well as ratings of CPRS item 66 (global illness) were significantly lower at follow-up. At one year, there was a significant negative correlation between the change in CSF-orexin and the change in total SUAS score.
Limitations: The number of patients who participated was relatively small.
Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that orexin is involved in psychiatric symptomatology.