Changes of Hypocretin (Orexin) System in Schizophrenia: From Plasma to Brain

Jing Lu, Man-Li Huang, Jin-Hui Li, Kang-Yu Jin, Hai-Mei Li, Ting-Ting Mou, Rolf Fronczek, Jin-Feng Duan, Wei-Juan Xu, Dick Swaab, Ai-Min Bao

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Abstract

Hypocretin (also called orexin) regulates various functions, such as sleep-wake rhythms, attention, cognition, and energy balance, which show significant changes in schizophrenia (SCZ). We aimed to identify alterations in the hypocretin system in SCZ patients. We measured plasma hypocretin-1 levels in SCZ patients and healthy controls and found significantly decreased plasma hypocretin-1 levels in SCZ patients, which was mainly due to a significant decrease in female SCZ patients compared with female controls. In addition, we measured postmortem hypothalamic hypocretin-1-immunoreactivity (ir), ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1 levels, and hypocretin receptor (Hcrt-R) mRNA expression in the superior frontal gyrus (SFG) in SCZ patients and controls We observed a significant decrease in the amount of hypothalamic hypocretin-1 ir in SCZ patients, which was due to decreased amounts in female but not male patients. Moreover, Hcrt-R2 mRNA in the SFG was decreased in female SCZ patients compared with female controls, while male SCZ patients showed a trend of increased Hcrt-R1 mRNA and Hcrt-R2 mRNA expression compared with male controls. We conclude that central hypocretin neurotransmission is decreased in SCZ patients, especially female patients, and this is reflected in the plasma.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 2021

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