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New research 891: Hypocretin/orexin levels in CH

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#1 Fri, 19/12/2014 - 12:19
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New research 891: Hypocretin/orexin levels in CH

Cephalalgia. 2014 Dec 9. pii: 0333102414562971. [Epub ahead of print]

Reduced CSF hypocretin-1 levels are associated with cluster headache.

Barloese M1, Jennum P2, Lund N1, Knudsen S3, Gammeltoft S4, Jensen R5.

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Cluster headache (CH) is a debilitating disorder characterized by unilateral, severe pain attacks with accompanying autonomic symptoms, often waking the patient from sleep. As it exhibits strong chronobiological traits and genetic studies have suggested a link with the hypocretin (HCRT) system, the objective of this study was to investigate HCRT-1 in CH patients.


Cerebrospinal fluid HCRT-1 concentration was measured in 12 chronic and 14 episodic CH patients during an active bout, and in 27 healthy controls. The patients were well characterized and clinical features compared to the HCRT concentration.


We found significantly lower HCRT levels both in chronic (p = 0.0221) and episodic CH (p = 0.0005) patients compared with controls. No significant relationship was found with other clinical features.


This is the first report of significantly reduced HCRT concentrations in CH patients. We speculate that decreased HCRT may reflect insufficient antinociceptive activity of the hypothalamus. The mechanism of the antinociceptive effect of HCRT is not known and requires further investigation. This study supports the hypothesis of a connection between arousal regulation and CH.


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