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Fatigue. 2018;6(2):63-79. doi: 10.1080/21641846.2018.1453919. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Task Related Cerebral Blood Flow Changes of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: An Arterial Spin Labeling Study.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, University of Florida.
2
Department of Clinical & Health Psychology, University of Florida.
3
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Missouri.
4
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Florida.

Abstract

Purpose:

One hallmark of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is task related worsening of fatigue. Global brain hypoperfusion, abnormal regional activation, and altered functional connectivity of brain areas associated with cognition and memory have been reported but remain controversial.

Methods:

We enrolled 17 female participants fulfilling the CDC Criteria for ME/CFS and 16 matched healthy controls (HC). Using a 3T-Phillips Achieva MRI-scanner, pseudo-continuous arterial spin-labeling (pCASL), was used to study the dynamics of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and their relationship to mental fatigue in ME/CFS patients and HC during a demanding cognitive task, i.e. modified Paced-Auditory-Serial-Addition-Testing (PASAT).

Results:

ME/CFS subjects reported more fatigue than HC at baseline (p < .01). Global brain perfusion of ME/CFS and HC subjects was similar at rest. The PASAT resulted in significantly increased fatigue in ME/CFS participants and HC. Although not different between groups, overall CBF significantly increased over the first 3 min of the PASAT and then decreased thereafter. Regional CBF (rCBF) changes were significantly different between groups during the post-task recovery period. Whereas improvement of fatigue of ME/CFS subjects was associated with decreased rCBF in both superior temporal gyri (STG), precuneus, and fusiform gyrus, it was associated with increased rCBF in the same areas in HC.

Conclusions:

Our results suggest that ME/CFS is associated with normal global CBF at rest and during a strenuous task (PASAT); however rCBF of several brain regions associated with memory, goal-oriented attention, and visual function was differentially associated with recovery from fatigue in ME/CFS patients and HC.

KEYWORDS:

Arterial Spin Labeling; Chronic Fatigue; Regional Cerebral Blood Flow

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