Hypothalamic dysfunction is related to sleep impairment and CSF biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease
The aim od this study is to test whether metabolism of beta-amyloid and tau proteins changes in narcolepsy along with the disease course. We analyzed a population of narcoleptic drug-naïve patients compared to a sample of healthy controls. Patients and controls underwent lumbar puncture for assessment of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) beta-amyloid1–42 (Aβ42), total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) levels. Moreover, based on the median disease duration of the whole narcolepsy group, the patients were divided into two subgroups: patients with a short disease duration (SdN, <5 years) and patients with a long disease duration (LdN, >5 years). We found significantly lower CSF Aβ42 levels in the whole narcolepsy group with respect to controls. Taking into account the patient subgroups, we documented reduced CSF Aβ42 levels in SdN compared to both LdN and controls. Even LdN patients showed lower CSF Aβ42 levels with respect to controls. Moreover, we documented higher CSF p-tau levels in LdN patients compared to both SdN and controls. Finally, a significant positive correlation between CSF Aβ42 levels and disease duration was evident. We hypothesize that beta-amyloid metabolism and cascade may be impaired in narcolepsy not only at the onset but also along with the disease course, although they show a compensatory profile over time. Concurrently, also CSF biomarkers indicative of neural structure (p-tau) appear to be altered in narcolepsy patients with a long disease duration. However, the mechanism underlying beta-amyloid and tau metabolism impairment in narcolepsy remains still unclear and deserves to be better elucidated.