HLA and sleep parameter associations in post-H1N1 narcolepsy type 1 patients and first-degree relatives

Sleep. 2020 Mar 12;43(3):zsz239. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz239.


Study objectives: To explore HLA (human leukocyte antigen) in post-H1N1 narcolepsy type 1 patients (NT1), first-degree relatives and healthy controls, and assess HLA associations with clinical and sleep parameters in patients and first-degree relatives.

Methods: Ninety post-H1N1 NT1 patients and 202 of their first-degree relatives were HLA-genotyped (next generation sequencing) and phenotyped (semistructured interviews, Stanford Sleep Questionnaire, polysomnography, and multiple sleep latency test). HLA allele distributions were compared between DQB1*06:02-heterozygous individuals (77 patients, 59 parents, 1230 controls). A subsample (74 patients, 114 relatives) was investigated for associations between HLA-loci and continuous sleep variables using logistic regression. Identified candidate HLA-loci were explored for HLA allele associations with hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis in 90 patients, and patient allele findings were checked for similar associations in 202 relatives.

Results: DQB1*06:02 heterozygous post-H1N1 NT1 patients (84.4% H1N1-vaccinated) showed several significant HLA associations similar to those reported previously in samples of mainly sporadic NT1, i.e. DQB1*03:01, DRB1*04:01, DRB1*04:02, DRB1*04:07, DRB1*11:04, A*25:01, B*35:03, and B*51:01, and novel associations, i.e. B*14:02, C*01:02, and C*07:01. Parents HLA alleles did not deviate significantly from controls. The HLA-C locus was associated with sleep parameters in patients and relatives. In patients C*02:02 seems to be associated with protective effects against sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations.

Conclusions: Our findings of similar risk/protective HLA-alleles in post-H1N1 as in previous studies of mainly sporadic narcolepsy support similar disease mechanisms. We also report novel allelic associations. Associations between HLA-C and sleep parameters were seen independent of NT1 diagnosis, supporting involvement of HLA-C in sleep subphenotypes.

Keywords: H1N1-vaccination; HLA; hypnagogic hallucinations; hypocretin; narcolepsy; sleep paralysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Genotype
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains / genetics
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Narcolepsy* / genetics
  • Sleep / genetics


  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains