Publication of important new vascular research from Dr Vance
datum: 4 september 2003
Following on from research which has already identified abnormalities in the
cerebral circulation (= blood flow to the brain) and low blood pressure in
the peripheral circulation which can manifest itself as orthostatic
intolerance (= symptoms worse on standing), Dr Vance Spence and colleagues
at the University of Dundee have been examining whether these findings could
be caused by changes involving a chemical transmitter called acetlycholine
(ACh) that controls the size of blood vessels - a process known as
Vance and his colleagues have already published findings which demonstrate
an enhanced level of blood vessel dilation in the skin when ACh is applied
to the skin in people with ME/CFS. They have now taken this one step
further by studying the time course of ACh induced vasodilation in 30
patients with CFS and 30 matched controls. No differences in peak blood
flow were found between the patients and the controls but the time taken for
the ACh response to return to normal was significantly longer in the CFS
This prolongation of the ACh induced response suggests that there may be a
problem within the endothelium (part of the lining membrane in the blood
vessel wall) in CFS. And it may also help to explain some of the vascular
symptoms - such as low blood pressure, feeling faint, orthostatic
intolerance - which are seen in many people with ME/CFS.
The patients were recruited from a local ME/CFS support group and all met
Fukada et al research criteria for CFS.
'Prolonged acetylcholine-induced vasodilation in the peripheral
microcirculation of patients with CFS'
Clinical Physiological Functional Imaging, 2003, 23, 282-285.
Dr Charles Shepherd