person yawning narcolepsy

“What do I need to know about the pathophysiology of narcolepsy?”

Narcolepsy is a serious neurological disorder.1-3

Narcolepsy pathophysiology.

  • The exact cause of narcolepsy is unknown.
  • Animal studies suggest that...
    • Narcolepsy may be due to dysregulation of a neuronal system which leads to the destabilization of the interaction between activating and inhibitory neurons.4-7
  • During the day...
    • Decreased signaling of activating/wake-promoting neurons may contribute to impaired wakefulness (excessive daytime sleepiness, or EDS) and muscle tone (cataplexy).5-9
Excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy icon


EDS in narcolepsy may partly be the result of decreased signaling of dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons.5,7,8

Cataplexy in narcolepsy icon


Cataplexy in narcolepsy may be the result of disrupted signaling of noradrenergic neurons.5,6,9,10


Hear how pediatric sleep specialist Michael Strunc, MD, explains narcolepsy.