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      Increase of orexin A in the peripheral blood of adolescents with Internet gaming disorder

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          Background and aims

          Overindulgence in Internet gaming, which is related to rapid development of the online game industry, can cause a psychiatric disorder known as Internet gaming disorder (IGD). The number of adolescents with IGD is on the rise in countries with developed Internet technologies, such as South Korea. Therefore, it is important to develop biomarkers to detect patients at high risk of IGD. This study investigated expression levels of proteins in the blood of adolescents to provide insight into the development of biomarkers.


          We collected blood samples from 73 subjects [40 healthy adolescents (Internet gaming control, IGC) and 33 adolescents with IGD] between 13:00 and 15:00. We analyzed the expression levels of orexin A, oxytocin, cortisol, melatonin, BDNF, sICAM-1, RANTES, and NCAM using multiplex assay kits.


          Orexin A was significantly ( p = .016) elevated in the IGD group and the expression levels of melatonin tended to be higher ( p = .055) in the IGD group. On the other hand, increased Internet gaming time in the IGD group was negatively correlated ( p = .041) with expression of BDNF. On the contrary, sICAM-1 associated with inflammation exhibited the tendency of the positive correlation ( p = .073) with Internet gaming time in the IGD group.

          Discussion and conclusions

          We identified elevation of orexin A in the peripheral blood of adolescents with IGD and a negative correlation between Internet gaming time and BDNF in adolescents with IGD. Our results provide useful information to understand the pathophysiology of IGD in adolescents.

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          Author and article information

          Journal of Behavioral Addictions
          J Behav Addict
          Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
          17 January 2020
          : 9
          : 1
          : 93-104
          [ 1 ]Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine , Seoul, Republic of Korea
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author: Dai-Jin Kim, MD, PhD; Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea; Phone: +82 2 2258 6086; Fax: +82 2 594 3870; E-mail: kdj922@
          © 2020 The Author(s)

          This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

          Page count
          Figures: 03, Tables: 01, Equations: 00, References: 86, Pages: 12
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          Funding sources: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2014M3C7A1062893). This funding source had no role in the design of this study and will not any role during its execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or decision to submit results.
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