Gray matter deficits in young adults with narcolepsy

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The aim of this study was to investigate gray matter volume changes in narcolepsy.

Materials and methods

An optimized voxel-based morphometry was conducted for 17 young adults with a sole diagnosis of human leukocyte antigen DQB1 0602 positive narcolepsy with cataplexy (26.6 ± 5.2 years old) and 17 comparison subjects (24.6 ± 4.9 years old) using 3 Tesla scanner. Gray matter volumes in the bilateral hypothalamic voxel of interests (VOI) were also calculated.


Compared with the comparison subjects, narcoleptic patients had gray matter volume decrease in the right hypothalamus and other regions including subcortical, prefrontal, limbic and occipital areas. Narcoleptic patients also had lower gray matter volume on predefined VOI at the bilateral hypothalamus, which correlated with the Ullanlinna Narcolepsy Scale score.


Current findings suggest that narcoleptic patients have structural abnormalities in hypothalamus, which might be related to the clinical manifestation of narcolepsy with cataplexy.

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