Downregulation of hypocretin/orexin after H1N1 Pandemrix vaccination of adolescent mice

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Narcolepsy type 1 (NT1), characterized by the loss of hypocretin/orexin (HCRT) production in the lateral hypothalamus, has been linked to Pandemrix vaccination during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, especially in children and adolescents. It is still unknown why this vaccination increased the risk of developing NT1. This study investigated the effects of Pandemrix vaccination during adolescence on Hcrt mRNA expression in mice. Mice received a primary vaccination (50 µL i.m.) during prepubescence and a booster vaccination during peri-adolescence. Hcrt expression was measured at three-time points after the vaccinations. Control groups included both a saline group and an undisturbed group of mice. Hcrt expression was decreased after both Pandemrix and saline injections, but 21 days after the second injection, the saline group no longer showed decreased Hcrt expression, while the Pandemrix group still exhibited a significant reduction of about 60% compared to the undisturbed control group. This finding suggests that Pandemrix vaccination during adolescence influences Hcrt expression in mice into early adulthood. The Hcrt mRNA level did not reach the low levels known to induce NT1 symptoms, instead, our finding supports the multiple-hit hypothesis of NT1 that states that several insults to the HCRT system may be needed to induce NT1 and that Pandemrix could be one such insult.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2024

ID: 383397441