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Not losing sleep over the orexins

Press release from Nature Medicine | February 12, 2007

Allschwil, Switzerland - A study to be published in the February issue of Nature Medicine reveals a new method of promoting sleep by blocking a certain type of protein receptor.

The proteins known as orexins ֖ are found in the brain and are important to keep you awake. Orexins gained notoriety after the discovery that the brains of people with narcolepsya condition in which patients suddenly and unexpectedly may fall sleepחlack these molecules. Orexins were not considered to be good targets to promote sleep in insomniacs, as people with narcolepsy also experience other problems such as cataplexyloss of muscle tone.

The new study, by Franקois Jenck and colleagues, shows that blocking the orexin receptors encourages sleep without cataplexy in rats, dogs and humans. Their blocker is more efficient and has less secondary effects than other sleep-promoting agents, pointing to the orexin receptors as suitable targets for the development of new hypnotic compounds.

Article has been adapted from a news release issued by Nature Medicine. Click here for the original news release.

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