From radioimmunoassay to mass spectrometry: a new method to quantify orexin-A (hypocretin-1) in cerebrospinal fluid

Sci Rep. 2016 May 11:6:25162. doi: 10.1038/srep25162.


I(125) radioimmunoassay (RIA) is currently the standard technique for quantifying cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) orexin-A/hypocretin-1, a biomarker used to diagnose narcolepsy type 1. However, orexin-A RIA is liable to undergo cross-reactions with matrix constituents generating interference, high variability between batches, low precision and accuracy, and requires special radioactivity precautions. Here we developed the first quantitative mass spectrometry assay of orexin-A based on a multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) approach. This method was tested in keeping with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines and its clinical relevance was confirmed by comparing patients with narcolepsy type 1 versus patients with other neurological conditions. The results obtained using MRM and RIA methods were highly correlated, and Bland-Altman analysis established their interchangeability. However, the MRM values had a wider distribution and were 2.5 time lower than the RIA findings. In conclusion, this method of assay provides a useful alternative to RIA to quantify orexin-A, and may well replace it not only in narcolepsy type 1, but also in the increasing number of pathologies in which the quantification of this analyte is relevant.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / chemistry*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Narcolepsy / diagnosis*
  • Orexins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Radioimmunoassay / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Orexins

Supplementary concepts

  • Narcolepsy 1