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T cells in patients with narcolepsy target self-antigens of hypocretin neurons


Abstract

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder caused by the loss of neurons that produce hypocretin. The close association with HLA-DQB1*06:02, evidence for immune dysregulation and increased incidence upon influenza vaccination together suggest that this disorder has an autoimmune origin. However, there is little evidence of autoreactive lymphocytes in patients with narcolepsy. Here we used sensitive cellular screens and detected hypocretin-specific CD4 T cells in all 19 patients that we tested; T cells specific for tribbles homologue 2-another self-antigen of hypocretin neurons-were found in 8 out of 13 patients. Autoreactive CD4 T cells were polyclonal, targeted multiple epitopes, were restricted primarily by HLA-DR and did not cross-react with influenza antigens. Hypocretin-specific CD8 T cells were also detected in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of several patients with narcolepsy. Autoreactive clonotypes were serially detected in the blood of the same-and even of different-patients, but not in healthy control individuals. These findings solidify the autoimmune aetiology of narcolepsy and provide a basis for rapid diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Abstract

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder caused by the loss of neurons that produce hypocretin. The close association with HLA-DQB1*06:02, evidence for immune dysregulation and increased incidence upon influenza vaccination together suggest that this disorder has an autoimmune origin. However, there is little evidence of autoreactive lymphocytes in patients with narcolepsy. Here we used sensitive cellular screens and detected hypocretin-specific CD4 T cells in all 19 patients that we tested; T cells specific for tribbles homologue 2-another self-antigen of hypocretin neurons-were found in 8 out of 13 patients. Autoreactive CD4 T cells were polyclonal, targeted multiple epitopes, were restricted primarily by HLA-DR and did not cross-react with influenza antigens. Hypocretin-specific CD8 T cells were also detected in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of several patients with narcolepsy. Autoreactive clonotypes were serially detected in the blood of the same-and even of different-patients, but not in healthy control individuals. These findings solidify the autoimmune aetiology of narcolepsy and provide a basis for rapid diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Experimental Immunology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:October 2018
Deposited On:21 Nov 2018 17:14
Last Modified:21 Nov 2018 17:25
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0540-1
PubMed ID:30232458

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