Evidence of Brainstem Dysfunction and Altered Homeostasis

Researchers in Australia explored brain involvement in CFS. They used statisticalNMR parametric mapping of brain MR images and compared against clinical scores for 25 CFS subjects and 25 normal controls. Clinical scores included CFS fatigue duration, a score based on the 10 most common CFS symptoms, the Bell score, the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) anxiety and depression and hemodynamic parameters from 24-h blood pressure monitoring. Midbrain white matter volume was observed to decrease with increasing fatigue duration. A strong correlation in CFS between brainstem grey matter volume and pulse pressure suggested impaired cerebrovascular autoregulation. It can be argued that at least some of these changes could arise from astrocyte dysfunction. These results are consistent with an insult to the midbrain at fatigue onset that affects multiple feedback control loops to suppress cerebral motor and cognitive activity and disrupt local CNS homeostasis, including resetting of some elements of the autonomic nervous system. (NMR in BioMedicine, May 11, 2011)

Tags: , , May 11, 2011