20th Annual Sleep and Health Benefit

The amygdala has a critical role in promoting emotion-triggered cataplexy.

Carrie Mahoney

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School

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Clinical Implications
The amygdala has a critical role in promoting emotion-triggered cataplexy.
Research Narrative

We continue to investigate the neuronal circuits that underlie a symptom of narcolepsy type 1 known as cataplexy, which is a sudden loss of muscle tone triggered most often by positive social experiences such as laughing with friends. The mechanisms through which social interaction promotes cataplexy are unknown. We hypothesize a subpopulation of central amygdala neurons that are sensitive to the prosocial neuropeptide, oxytocin (CeAOTR neurons), respond to positive valence stimuli and trigger cataplexy. Furthermore, we propose that the projection from CeAOTR neurons to the ventral lateral periaqueductal gray/lateral pontine region is one circuit that promotes cataplexy under social and other rewarding stimuli. We use the orexin knock out mouse model in a series of experiments described in this poster to test these hypotheses. Thank you again for your interest in these experiments, please feel free to contact us with questions.

Research Category
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