Reduced parasympathetic reactivation during recovery from exercise in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Jessica Van Oosterwijck*, Uros Marusic, Inge De Wandele, Mira Meeus, Lorna Paul, Luc Lambrecht, Greta Moorkens, Lieven Danneels, Jo Nijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) has been proposed, conflicting evidence makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding ANS activity at rest in ME/CFS patients. Although severe exercise intolerance is one of the core features of ME/CFS, little attempts have been made to study ANS responses to physical exercise. Therefore, impairments in ANS activation at rest and following exercise were examined using a case-control study in 20ME/CFS patients and 20 healthy people. Different autonomous variables, including cardiac, respiratory, and electrodermal responses were assessed at rest and following an acute exercise bout. At rest, parameters in the time-domain represented normal autonomic function in ME/CFS, while frequency-domain parameters indicated the possible presence of diminished(para)sympathetic activation. Reduced parasympathetic reactivation during recovery from exercise was observed in ME/CFS. This is the first study showing reduced parasympathetic reactivation during recovery from physical exercise in ME/CFS. Delayed HR recovery and/or a reduced HRV as seen in ME/CFS have been associated with poor disease prognosis, high risk for adverse cardiac events, and morbidity in other pathologies, implying that future studies should examine whether this is also the case in ME/CFS and how to safely improve HR recovery in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4527
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume10
Issue number19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • autonomic nervous system
  • autonomic function
  • electrodermal activity
  • electrocardiogram
  • heart rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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