Cerebrospinal fluid hypocretin-1 levels during the active period of cluster headache

Sabina Cevoli*, Fabio Pizza, Daniela Grimaldi, Marianna Nicodemo, Valentina Favoni, Giulia Pierangeli, Philipp O. Valko, Christian R. Baumann, Pasquale Montagna, Claudio L. Bassetti, Pietro Cortelli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Hypocretins (orexins) are hypothalamic neuropeptides which are involved in a wide range of physiological processes in mammals including central pain processing. Genetic studies in humans evidenced a role for the hypocretinergic system in cluster headache (CH).Patients and methods: We tested cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) hypocretin-1 (orexin-A) levels in 10 CH patients during an active cluster period. CSF hypocretin-1 levels were measured by radioimmunoassay.Results: CSF hypocretin-1 levels were within the normal range (mean 457.3-±-104.98-pg/ml, range 304-639) in our 10 patients, with a slight reduction in one case (304-pg/ml). There were no associations between CSF hypocretin-1 levels and the clinical features of CH. A trend towards higher hypocretin-1 levels was disclosed in patients with chronic CH compared to episodic CH.Conclusions: CSF hypocretin-1 levels seem not to influence the clinical course of CH, but our results cannot completely exclude a functional involvement of the hypothalamic hypocretinergic system in the pathogenesis of CH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-976
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Cluster headache
  • hypocretin-1
  • hypothalamus
  • orexin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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