Data linking disorder to immune cells couldn’t be replicated, scientists say
Scientists have retracted a December 2013 study suggesting that narcolepsy is caused by an immune attack on one’s own tissues (SN: 1/25/14, p. 12). The study, led by researchers at Stanford University, had found that people with narcolepsy had cadres of immune T cells that targeted neurons making the peptide orexin (also called hypocretin), a neurotransmitter crucial for staying awake. Earlier research had shown that people with narcolepsy lack such orexin-making neurons. But in subsequent experiments, the scientists have been unable to replicate their main result: a stronger autoimmune reaction in T cells from people with narcolepsy than in those from people without the condition. The retraction appears in the July 30 Science Translational Medicine.
A. K. De la Herrán-Arita et al. Retraction. Science Translational Medicine.Vol. 6, July 30, 2014.
A.K. De la Herrán-Arita et al. CD4+ T cell autoimmunity to hypocretin/orexin and cross-reactivity to a 2009 H1N1 influenza A epitope in narcolepsy. Science Translational Medicine. Vol. 5, December 18, 2013, p. 216ra176. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007762.
N. Seppa. Narcolepsy may be an autoimmune disease. Science News. Vol. 185, January 25, 2014, p. 12.