Annals of clinical and translational neurology
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Objective Cataplexy is a complicated and dynamic process in narcolepsy type 1 (NT1) patients. This study aimed to clarify the distinct stages during a cataplectic attack and identify the changes of the primary motor cortex (PMC) excitability during these stages. Methods Thirty-five patients with NT1 and 29 healthy controls were recruited to this study. Cataplectic stages were distinguished from a cataplectic attack by video-polysomnogram monitoring. Transcranial magnetic stimulation motor-evoked potential (TMS-MEP) was performed to measure the excitability of PMC during quiet wakefulness, laughter without cataplexy, and each cataplectic stage. Results Based on the video and electromyogram observations, a typical cataplectic attack (CA) process is divided into four stages: triggering (CA1), resisting (CA2), atonic (CA3), and recovering stages (CA4). Compared with healthy controls, NT1 patients showed significantly decreased intracortical facilitation during quiet wakefulness. During the laughter stage, both patients and controls showed increased MEP amplitude compared with quiet wakefulness. The MEP amplitude significantly increased even higher in CA1 and 2, and then dramatically decreased in CA3 accompanied with prolonged MEP latency compared with the laughter stage and quiet wakefulness. The MEP amplitude and latency gradually recovered during CA4. Interpretation This study identifies four stages during cataplectic attack and reveals the existence of a resisting stage that might change the process of cataplexy. The fluctuation of MEP amplitude and MEP latency shows a potential participation of PMC and motor control pathway during cataplexy, and the increased MEP amplitude during CA1 and 2 strongly implies a compensatory mechanism in motor control that may resist or avoid cataplectic attack.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.