Narcolepsy Type 1 Is Associated with a Systemic Increase and Activation of Regulatory T Cells and with a Systemic Activation of Global T Cells

Abstract : Narcolepsy is a rare neurologic disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy and disturbed nocturnal sleep patterns. Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) has been shown to result from a selective loss of hypothalamic hypocretin-secreting neurons with patients typically showing low CSF-hypocretin levels (<110 pg/ml). This specific loss of hypocretin and the strong association with the HLA-DQB1*06:02 allele led to the hypothesis that NT1 could be an immune-mediated pathology. Moreover, susceptibility to NT1 has recently been associated with several pathogens, particularly with influenza A H1N1 virus either through infection or vaccination. The goal of this study was to compare peripheral blood immune cell populations in recent onset pediatric NT1 subjects (post or non-post 2009-influenza A H1N1 vaccination) to healthy donors. We demonstrated an increased number of central memory CD4 + T cells (CD62L + CD45RA-) associated to an activated phenotype (increase in CD69 and CD25 expression) in NT1 patients. Percentage and absolute count of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in NT1 patients were increased associated with an activated phenotype (increase in GITR and LAP expression), and of activated memory phenotype. Cytokine production by CD4 + and CD8 + T cells after activation was not modified in NT1 patients. In H1N1 vaccinated NT1 patients, absolute counts of CD3 + , CD8 + T cells, and B cells were increased compared to non-vaccinated NT1 patients. These results support a global T cell activation in NT1 patients and thus support a T cell-mediated autoimmune origin of NT1, but do not demonstrate the pathological role of H1N1 prophylactic vaccination. They should prompt further studies of T cells, particularly of Tregs (such as suppression and proliferation antigen specific assays, and also T-cell receptor sequencing), in NT1.
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Michel Lecendreux, Guillaume Churlaud, Fabien Pitoiset, Armelle Regnault, Tu Anh Tran, et al.. Narcolepsy Type 1 Is Associated with a Systemic Increase and Activation of Regulatory T Cells and with a Systemic Activation of Global T Cells. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (1), pp.e0169836. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0169836⟩. ⟨hal-01449699⟩

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