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Disease models

Mouse model of inducible narcolepsy

Mice with inducible ablation of hypothalamic orexin (hypocretin; Hcrt) neurons could be useful models for evaluating narcolepsy therapeutics. Previous mouse models have been unable to replicate patient-specific onset of narcolepsy in adolescence or early adulthood and rarely showed narcolepsy-associated cataplexy. In the new model, induced ablation of the hypothalamic orexin neurons resulted in progressive onset of narcolepsy-associated symptoms, including fragmented sleep-wake cycles, weight gain without increased food intake and frequent episodes of cataplexy. Next steps could include using the model to study disease biology and evaluate therapeutic candidates.

SciBX 7(22); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.655
Published online June 5, 2014

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Tabuchi, S. et al. J. Neurosci.; published online May 7, 2014;
Contact: Akihiro Yamanaka, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
Contact: Thomas S. Kilduff, SRI International, Menlo Park, Calif.