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THE NE SYSTEM AS A TARGET FOR HYPOCRETIN NEURONS
 

Summary: THE NE SYSTEM AS A TARGET FOR
HYPOCRETIN NEURONS:
Implications for regulation of arousal
Gary Aston-Jones, J. Patrick Card, Yan Zhu, Mónica González and
Elizabeth Haggerty*
1. INTRODUCTION
As described in detail elsewhere in this volume, hypocretin (Hcrt, also called orexin)
is a neuropeptide discovered recently in brain by subtractive hybridization technology 1
and orphan receptor analysis.2
Anatomical studies revealed that this peptide is made only
in a select group of neurons in the hypothalamus, which project widely throughout the
neuraxis.3
Functional analyses initially revealed a potential role for Hcrt in food intake,
but later studies showed an important role of this neuropeptide system in regulation of
arousal and sleep-waking states. It now seems clear that interference with Hcrt
neurotransmission at any of several steps in either animals or humans leads to a
narcoleptic-like syndrome.4,5
Although Hcrt projections ramify widely in the CNS, they are particularly target
brain systems associated with arousal and regulation of sleep and waking. Among these
areas, the nucleus locus coeruleus (LC) is especially heavily innervated by Hcrt fibers 3

  

Source: Aston-Jones, Gary - Department of Neurosciences, Medical University of South Carolina

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine