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Diseases » Narcolepsy » Inheritance

Inheritance and Genetics of Narcolepsy

Inheritance and Genetics Information

Inheritance of Narcolepsy: There is strong evidence that narcolepsy may run in families; 8 to 12 percent of people with narcolepsy have a close relative with the disease. (Source: excerpt from Narcolepsy: NWHIC)

Narcolepsy: Genetics Information

Genetics of Narcolepsy: Although there are rare families where narcolepsy is passed on through several generations, most cases of narcolepsy occur at random rather than being inherited.

The genetics of narcolepsy is complex, but it is thought that a newly discovered group of proteins may be involved. These proteins are called hypocretins (also known as orexins), and they signal messages in the brain. When hypocretins are given to rats, they induce wakefulness. Dogs that have a mutation in the hypocretin receptor Hcrt2 have narcolepsy. Mice that have a mutation in the hypocretin gene also have narcolepsy. A mutation in the hypocretin gene is extremely rare in human narcolepsy. However, affected individuals do have very low levels of hypocretins, suggesting the loss of the brain cells that secrete hypocretin. (Source: Genes and Disease by the National Center for Biotechnology)

About inheritance and genetics:

Inheritance of Narcolepsy refers to whether the condition is inherited from your parents or "runs" in families. The level of inheritance of a condition depends on how important genetics are to the disease. Strongly genetic diseases are usually inherited, partially genetic diseases are sometimes inherited, and non-genetic diseases are not inherited. For general information, see Introduction to Genetics.


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