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Immunoglobulin IgG Abnormality in Narcolepsy and Idiopathic hypersomnia 2010


Senior Member
IgG Abnormality in Narcolepsy and Idiopathic Hypersomnia | PLOS ONE


  • Susumu Tanaka ,
  • Makoto Honda
A close association between narcolepsy and the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA)-DQB1*0602 allele suggests the involvement of the immune system, or possibly an autoimmune process. We investigated serum IgG levels in narcolepsy.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We measured the serum total IgG levels
in 159 Japanese narcolepsy-cataplexy patients positive for the HLA-DQB1*0602 allele,
28 idiopathic hypersomnia patients with long sleep time,
and 123 healthy controls (the HLA-DQB1*0602 allele present in 45 subjects).

The serum levels of each IgG subclass were subsequently measured.

The distribution of serum IgG was significantly different among
healthy controls negative for the HLA-DQB1*0602 allele (11.66±3.55 mg/ml),
healthy controls positive for the HLA-DQB1*0602 allele (11.45±3.43),
narcolepsy patients (9.67±3.38), and
idiopathic hypersomnia patients (13.81±3.80).

None of the following clinical variables, age, disease duration, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, smoking habit and BMI at the time of blood sampling, were associated with IgG levels in narcolepsy or idiopathic hypersomnia.

Furthermore we found the decrease in IgG1 and IgG2 levels, stable expression of IgG3, and the increase in the proportion of IgG4 in narcolepsy patients with abnormally low IgG levels.

The increase in the proportion of IgG4 levels was also found in narcolepsy patients with normal serum total IgG levels.

Idiopathic hypersomnia patients showed a different pattern of IgG subclass distribution with high IgG3 and IgG4 level, low IgG2 level, and IgG1/IgG2 imbalance.


Our study is the first to determine IgG abnormalities in narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia by measuring the serum IgG levels in a large number of hypersomnia patients.

The observed IgG abnormalities indicate humoral immune alterations in narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.

Different IgG profiles suggest immunological differences between narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.

Full article

pone.0009555 1..8 (plos.org)