Research abstract:

Neural network investigations are currently absent in adolescent chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In this study, we examine whether the core intrinsic connectivity networks (ICNs) are altered in adolescent CFS patients.

Eighteen adolescent patients with CFS and 18 aged matched healthy adolescent control subjects underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rfMRI). Data was analyzed using dual-regression independent components analysis, which is a data-driven approach for the identification of independent brain networks.

Intrinsic connectivity was evaluated in the default mode network (DMN), salience network (SN), and central executive network (CEN). Associations between network characteristics and symptoms of CFS were also explored. Adolescent CFS patients displayed a significant decrease in SN functional connectivity to the right posterior insula compared to healthy comparison participants, which was related to fatigue symptoms.

Additionally, there was an association between pain intensity and SN functional connectivity to the left middle insula and caudate that differed between adolescent patients and healthy comparison participants.

Our findings of insula dysfunction and its association with fatigue severity and pain intensity in adolescent CFS demonstrate an aberration of the salience network which might play a role in CFS pathophysiology.

Aberrant Resting-State Functional Connectivity in the Salience Network of Adolescent Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, by Wortinger LA, Endestad T, Melinder AM, Øie MG, Sevenius A, Bruun Wyller V in PLoS One. 2016 Jul 14;11(7)

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