My Editor’s Choice

Professor Ulf Ziemann,Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Neurophysiology

Professor Ulf Ziemann
Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Neurophysiology

The Editor’s Choice—

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Abnormally fast muscle fiber conduction in the membranes of motor units at low static force load

Clinical Neurophysiology Volume 132, Issue 4 (April 2021)

Klaver-Krol EG, Hermens HJ, Vermeulen RC, Klaver MM, Luyten H, Henriquez NR, Zwarts MJ (2021) Chronic fatigue syndrome: Abnormally fast muscle fiber conduction in the membranes of motor units at low static force load. Clinical Neurophysiology 132: 967–974

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) are frequent and difficult-to-treat disorders with high societal impact and cost. Their etiology and pathophysiology are still largely unclear. Symptoms of CFS and FM are overlapping, especially muscular fatigue and pain. By using multi-electrode surface EMG, Klaver-Krol and colleagues show in this issue of Clinical Neurophysiology that patients with CFS exhibit an exaggerated increase of muscle fiber conduction velocity with increase of static force, tested in the biceps muscle. Moreover, the authors replicate a previous finding that patients with FM show increased muscle fiber conduction velocity through the tested range of low-to-intermediate static forces when compared to demographically matched healthy controls. Finally, in the CFS group, the number of motor unit potentials conveying very high muscle fiber conduction velocities increased abundantly with force. These findings suggest disordered, i.e., hyperactivated muscle membrane function in CFS and FM patients. The early recruitment of anerobic high-threshold fast-conducting motor units may have contributed to these findings, and this in turn may be a cause for the rapid muscle fatiguability in CFS and FM. While this does not directly open up avenues to more effective treatment, the gain in pathophysiological insight is a mandatory first step into this direction.

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