Neuropeptides orexin A and B (OX-A/B, also called hypocretin 1 and 2) are released selectively by a population of neurons which projects widely into the entire central nervous system but are localized in a restricted area of the tuberal region of the hypothalamus, caudal to the paraventricular nucleus. The OX system prominently targets brain structures involved in the regulation of wake-sleep state switching, and also orchestrates multiple physiological functions. The degeneration and dysregulation of the OX system promotes narcoleptic phenotypes both in humans and animals. Hence, this review begins with the already proven involvement of OX in narcolepsy, but it mainly discusses the new pre-clinical and clinical insights of the role of OX in three major neurological disorders characterized by sleep impairment which have been recently associated with OX dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Prader Willi syndrome, and have been emerged over the past 10 years to be strongly associated with the OX dysfunction and should be more considered in the future. In the light of the impairment of the OX system in these neurological disorders, it is conceivable to speculate that the integrity of the OX system is necessary for a healthy functioning body.
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