Orexins as Novel Therapeutic Targets in Inflammatory and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019 Oct 22;10:709. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00709. eCollection 2019.


Orexins [orexin-A (OXA) and orexin-B (OXB)] are two isoforms of neuropeptides produced by the hypothalamus. The main biological actions of orexins, focused on the central nervous system, are to control the sleep/wake process, appetite and feeding, energy homeostasis, drug addiction, and cognitive processes. These effects are mediated by two G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) subtypes named OX1R and OX2R. In accordance with the synergic and dynamic relationship between the nervous and immune systems, orexins also have neuroprotective and immuno-regulatory (i.e., anti-inflammatory) properties. The present review gathers recent data demonstrating that orexins may have a therapeutic potential in several pathologies with an immune component including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, narcolepsy, obesity, intestinal bowel diseases, septic shock, and cancers.

Keywords: GPCR; autoimmune diseases; cancer; gastroenterology; inflammation; neuropeptides; neuroprotection; orexins.

Publication types

  • Review