Sleep Med Rev. 2020 Jul 13;54:101361. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101361. Online ahead of print.
Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is a complex and heterogeneous disorder with as yet unidentified unifying pathophysiological mechanism. There is emerging evidence that hypothalamic dysfunction, manifesting as disturbances in sleep and metabolism, is an integral component of neurodegeneration in bvFTD. Although sleep and metabolic disturbances and the behavioural abnormalities of bvFTD may appear disparate on the surface, there may be a common underlying hormonal mechanism involving orexin. Orexin is a hypothalamic neurotransmitter directly responsible for control of sleep and metabolism in healthy individuals and is implicated in many abnormal behaviours commonly seen in bvFTD – such as impulsive behaviour, hedonistic reinforcement and binge-consumption of ethanol. Further characterising orexin’s role in pathophysiology of bvFTD could lead to a new paradigm for understanding this disease and may provide a new direction towards effective management and treatment.