Confirmed: Narcolepsy Is An Autoimmune Disease

Results also partly explain why the 2009 swine flu virus, and a vaccine against it, led to spikes in the sleep disorder.

Immunologist Elizabeth Mellins and narcolepsy researcher Emmanuel Mignot at Stanford University School of Medicine in California and their collaborators have now partly solved the mystery behind these events, while also confirming a longstanding hypothesis that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks healthy cells.

Narcolepsy, a mysterious disorder that involves sudden, uncontrollable sleepiness, is mostly caused by the gradual loss of neurons that produce hypocretin, a hormone that keeps us awake. Many scientists had suspected that the immune system was responsible, but the Stanford team has found the first direct evidence: a special group of CD4+ T cells (a type of immune cell) that targets hypocretin and is found only in people with narcolepsy.

“Up till now, the idea that narcolepsy was an autoimmune disorder was a very compelling hypothesis, but this is the first direct evidence of autoimmunity,” says Mellins. “I think these cells are a smoking gun.” The study is published today in Science.

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  1. jadefatherfuckingharley reblogged this from s-c-i-guy
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  6. narcolepticrant reblogged this from s-c-i-guy and added:
    Finally!! Now people can’t keep telling me it’s only in my head! HAH mother fuckers!
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  13. idontevenhaveone reblogged this from chronic-illness-support and added:
    This… is actually really interesting and explains a lot.
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  17. cfsfmmcsandrelatedstudies reblogged this from kelluoe and added:
    Adolescents have reported various infections as triggers of their narcolepsy including strep, the swine flu, and other...
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  19. getfreshh reblogged this from kelluoe
  20. andthenifellasleep reblogged this from cfsfmmcsandrelatedstudies and added:
    This is fascinating for me, as I contracted swine flu in 2009, and was diagosed as narcoleptic two years later. I’d...
  21. kelluoe reblogged this from cfsfmmcsandrelatedstudies and added:
    This may be stupid, but does this explain why I’ve always gotten sick all the time? I think my narcolepsy set in after I...
  22. quietdharma reblogged this from cfsfmmcsandrelatedstudies and added:
    The swine flu is when my cfs/me started. Interesting findings about the flu, vaccines & autoimmunity.
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