Prefrontal Cortex Activity Correlates With Fatigue After HSCT

Boberg E, Iacobaeus E, Greenfield MS, et al. Reduced Prefrontal Cortex and Sympathetic Nervous System Activity Correlate with Fatigue After aHSCT. Bone Marrow Transplantation. 2021; (doi: 10.1038/s41409-021-01539-9).

The results of a new study shows reduced prefrontal cortex and sympathetic nervous system activity during cognitive challenges in patients with post-allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) fatigue, compared with non-fatigued patients and healthy controls. The findings indicate novel treatment targets to counter fatigue after aHSCT. Researchers studied 12 patients with fatigue, 12 without fatigue, and 27 healthy controls with near-infrared spectroscopy and electrodermal activity measured while at rest and while cognitive performance tasks — Stroop, verbal fluency, and emotion regulation — were performed. The participants' responses to dopamine and noradrenaline increase after one dose of methylphenidate was also evaluated. The patient groups exhibited similar baseline cognitive performance, but only non-fatigued patients showed better Stroop accuracy and better verbal fluency task performance when administered methylphenidate. The fatigued group had lower task-related prefrontal cortex activation across all cognitive tests before and after methylphenidate. Stroop task-related reaction time, prefrontal cortex activation, and sympathetic arousal were reduced in fatigued patients compared with controls, and were similar in non-fatigued patients and controls.

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