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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 165-176

Neuroanatomical and Etiological Approaches to Secondary Narcolepsy


Department of Neurology, Sleep and Disorders Unit, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa, Istanbul, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Gulcin Benbir Senel
Department of Neurology, Sleep and Disorders Unit, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, Cerrahpasa, Istanbul, 34098
Turkey
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/nsn.nsn_5_22

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Narcolepsy is one among the disorders of central hypersomnolence characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness not related to disturbances in nocturnal sleep or misalignment in circadian rhythms. The cardinal symptom of this group of disorders is disabling daytime sleepiness, characterized by the repeated episodes of irresistible daytime sleepiness or lapses into sleep in monotonous situations, but also under unusual conditions such as eating. Narcolepsy is defined as type 1 and type 2 on the basis of the presence of cataplexy. The most pathognomonic feature of narcolepsy type 1 is cataplexy, which is characterized by sudden episodes of brief loss of muscle tone-sparing consciousness, usually triggered by strong emotions. Other nonspecific symptoms associated with rapid eye movement sleep dissociation include fragmentation of nocturnal sleep, hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. The pathophysiology of narcolepsy type 1 is well established as the deficiency of hypocretin (orexin) signaling in the lateral hypothalamus. In narcolepsy type 2, on the other hand, hypocretin levels are not decreased, and it has been suggested that there is probably a partial deficiency in hypocretin signaling system to cause excessive daytime sleepiness but not severe enough to cause cataplexy. Instead of types 1 and 2, primary (idiopathic) narcolepsy, familial narcolepsy, secondary (symptomatic) narcolepsy, and narcolepsy plus (hereditary forms with additional neurological symptoms) forms were suggested to better classify the clinical entities. In this paper, the diagnosis of symptomatic or secondary narcolepsy is reviewed and classified based on the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms.


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