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The Dopamine Imbalance Hypothesis of Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Marco, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For those interested in these things this is a useful review (and hypothesis) of possible mechanisms for 'central fatigue' in MS and other neurological disorders (full paper).

    Not directly relevant to ME/CFS although several ME/CFS studies are referenced.

    Possibly the most interesting (and speculative) discussion is the possible influence of the immune system in dopaminergic dysregulation :

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4357260/
     
  2. Joel

    Joel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Three other family members I share genes with have other illnesses/conditions, and all happen to be linked to dopamine. I only noticed this after I started to wonder if dopamine was a problem in ME. I'd like to see proper research around dopamine in ME.
     
  3. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    Interesting, but I just feel like they are trying to overextend the dopamine idea to explain fatigue. Since all the products of that overexcited immune system are running about the body as well as the brain, and since they interfere with energy production and impede functioning in all sorts of other ways, there are much simpler explanations for the fatigue.

    Also, I suspect that fatigue associated with dopamine-related illnesses is kind of different from autoimmune fatigue. More "mental". People describe it more as a loss of initiative, and it seems to be most pronounced when you try to get started with an action plan (like walking up a footpath), and less pronounced once you've gotten into it.

    One important factor is whether the fatigue fluctuates wildly or is permanent/predictable give the activity. If its peripherally induced, it is likely to vary massively with the level of circulating cytokines etc. If its CNS induced, it should be less variable.

    I think we need a whole new vocabulary for understanding these various physical states that make it feel like doing things is an incredible effort and incredibly draining (i.e. fatigue). Until we find one, people will keep confusing chalk and cheese.

    Dopamine could be of interest when it comes to explaining low mood, though.
     
  4. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    No brain power to read the study but raising dopamine is only a Dexedrine or Levodopa tablet away
     
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  5. MSEsperanza

    MSEsperanza Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Might be interesting -- whether as an endorsemennt or as a contradiction, I don't know, though:

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1352458517743090
     
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  6. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @MSEsperanza

    Thanks. That does indicate that fatigue in MS isn't just about lack of motivation and you can differentiate between effort independent fatigue (which could reflect motivation and effort dependent 'fatigability' following mental exertion.

    It would be interesting to know if effort dependent fatigue in MS also follows physical exertion.
     
  7. MSEsperanza

    MSEsperanza Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Marco

    Please accept my apologies for the delayed response.

    In MS, there are many different types of fatigue, too. Actually, some clinicians distinguish and are really interested in investigating the different forms. At least, they differentiate between "mental", "cognitive" and "motor" fatigue. The latter occurs during physical exertion.

    I find these investigations done by a small research institute in Germany very interesting, and even though the preliminary results may not be applicable to ME (but perhaps there are overlapping mechanisms?), they could be inspiring for those who are striving to find objective measurements of ME related fatigue/ fatiguability (types).

    Perhaps your question is better answered in one of the studies of the mentioned institute: http://www.kliniken-schmieder.de/lurija-institut.html

    Unfortunately, there is no direct URL to the studies publihed in English. You have to navigate through "aktuelle Forschungsprojekte" -> "Fatigue and Fatiguability -> and then "Literatur" on the right side.

    Thought about opening a new thread for discussion of these studies, but need a longer rest now.

    (Have been made aware of the Lurija Intitut when spending several weeks in a neurological rehab facility linked to the institute. In addition, I was suspected to have MS more than once, and have encountered many MS patients, some of them also suffering from so called "PEM", some of cognitive fatigue, some of depressions, and some experience neither forms of fatigue/ "PEM", but this is another topic.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  8. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks @MSEsperanza

    Opening a new thread would be a good idea when you're feeling up to it as there may be a lot to learn about 'fatigue' (or loss of endurance as I personally experience it).

    One field that particularly interests me is mild post traumatic brain injury where in a sub-set of cases 'post concussion syndrome' is a long term problem with many similarities to ME/CFS (and where similarly 'psychological' factors are assumed to play a role when the patient refuses to get better) that occurs when (unlike MS) the initial trauma is assumed to have fully healed.

    This paper (abstract only) caught my eye in the link you provided :

    Fatigue and fatigability in neurologic illnesses: proposal for a unified taxonomy.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23339207

    Unfortunately when you check the included image they include CFS under psychological factors that influence fatigue perception. Too bad!

    On the other hand this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24952620 could be a useful approach to objectively measuring motor fatigue in ME/CFS that avoids possible response bias using questionnaires (although I'm not sure how you exclude the possibility that motivation affects gait?).
     
  9. Sing

    Sing Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I have tried Bromocriptine, which slows the breakdown of dopamine, and also tried a stimulant, Methylphenidate at a low dose which doesn’t overtax my system, and my conclusion is that the methylphenidate offers a degree of help for cognition as well as hypotension, but the Bromocriptine doesn’t help my brain function. These drugs do not begin to resolve the whole problem of ME/its many elements.

    So, while I would concur that low dopamine is probably happening in us, adding or stimulating it alone doesn’t fix the whole system or ME brain.

    Researchers like to focus on one element and in some illnesses, there is one element amiss, but the apparent low dopamine in us is, I expect, a downstream effect and only part of a complex picture of a different metabolism/system that has gone amiss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2018
  10. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) is used to increase energy (as well as wakefulness) and its a dopamine pumper. That said if our issues arise from pyruvate dehydrogenase inhibition then all the dopamine in the world is not likely to affect it, it would be like trying to fix a broken alternator by filling the gas tank.
    The problem with fatigue is that it can have many causes, and targeting the wrong one won't get us very far. Some possibilities off the top of my head, low in ATP, muscle wasting disease, low blood glucose, etc.
     
  11. Woolie

    Woolie Committee member

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    I just saw this article you posted, @MSEsperanza, and it's really interesting. A really good effort to try and identify subtypes of fatigue. We really need a system for describing and rating the different types that can be used across all illnesses where fatigue is a component.

    The only reservation I had about the article is that they seem to continue to assume that all types of fatigue in MS must have a central nervous system origin. What if some types have a peripheral origin, and are primarily a function of levels of circulating peripheral cytokines or the like? That would sound more plausible to me, and it would help explain why some fatigue is effort-sensitive (if its going on in the periphery, its going to be influenced by all sort of things going on there).
     
  12. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I shall watch this thread with interest.

    Thirty years ago good, experience, consultants considered that some of my symptoms, upon exhaustion, were similar to Parkinsonism-but without any particular tremor. It was the stooped, slow, shuffling gait together with a rigidity. The symptoms were, and still are transitory.

    I always suspected the involvement of dopamine. I once got taken into my GP in that state. I mentioned the 'comment about Parkinsonism. Need I go on? You know the rest.
     
  13. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Good grief (belatedy).

    That sounds exactly like me and rather unlike what is reported for ME/CFS. I refer to them as 'stroke-like' episodes where amongst other things I have transient episodic ataxia.
     
  14. Helen

    Helen Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For what it is worth, Rich van Konynenburg mentioned in his talk 2011 that the COMT polymorphism had been studied and found being more frequent in PWME than in healthy people, and the COMT gene, or it´s enzyme, regulates dopamine.
     
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  15. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Amantadine and L-carnitine treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9018019

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amantadine
     
  16. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I wonder which side-effects occurred, and whether those might give us clues. As always, I suspect it's a secondary consequence of CNS disruption, rather than a primary cause.
     
  17. Alvin

    Alvin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is a term i've been needing, thanks :)
     
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  18. Mij

    Mij Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Dysautonomia is not very studied in MS. There are more than a dozen different types and most doctors don't have experience in this field. I think it is more than likely that the cognitive 'fatigue' we all suffer from is closely related.
     
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  19. Marco

    Marco Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    More on the dopamine imbalance hypothesis of fatigue - this time in traumatic brain injury.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08846-6

    Cognitive fatigue following traumatic brain injury appears to be mediated by dopamine signalling in the caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia with low dopamine associated with greater cognitive fatigue (both low dopamine and underactivation of the basal ganglia have been noted in ME/CFS).

    Perhaps the U shaped nature of the effects of dopamine signalling on cognitive fatigue might explain negative results/side effects of dopamine agonists?

     
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