Individuals with the sleep disorder narcolepsy suffer with excessive daytime sleepiness and attacks of muscle paralysis triggered by strong emotions (a condition known as cataplexy). It is thought that narcolepsy is an autoimmune disorder — that is, it is caused by the individual's immune system attacking certain cells in the body — but this has not yet been proven definitively. However, Mehdi Tafti and colleagues, at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have now identified autoantibodies (immune molecules that target a natural protein in the body rather than a protein from an infectious agent) that target the natural protein Trib2 in narcolepsy patients with cataplexy, suggesting that narcolepsy is indeed an autoimmune disorder.
TITLE: Elevated Tribbles homolog 2–specific antibody levels in narcolepsy patients
Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
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