Does cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction contribute to fatigue in Parkinson's disease?

Tomohiko Nakamura, Masaaki Hirayama, Takashi Hara, Tetsuo Hama, Hirohisa Watanabe, Gen Sobue

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with Parkinson's disease often complain of fatigue, and although cardiac sympathetic denervation is thought to be associated with fatigue, this link remains unclear. Previously, we detected cardiac sympathetic denervation in patients with Parkinson's disease using dobutamine, a selective beta-1 stimulant. To clarify the involvement of autonomic dysfunction in fatigue in Parkinson's disease, we conducted autonomic function tests on 33 patients with Parkinson's disease (mean age, 66.1 ± 5.6 years; 20 men, 13 women) and evaluated their relationships to fatigue. We divided patients into 2 groups, fatigued (n = 12) and nonfatigued (n = 21), based on an average score ≥ 3.3 on the Parkinson fatigue scale. Autonomic function tests included the coefficient of variation of R-R intervals, head-up tilt test, norepinephrine and dobutamine infusion tests, and cardiac 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy. The coefficient of variation of R-R intervals and the systolic blood pressure changes accompanying the head-up tilt test did not show significant differences between the 2 groups; however, the pressor responses in the norepinephrine and dobutamine infusion tests were significantly greater in the fatigued group than in the nonfatigued group. The 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine heart-to-mediastinal uptake ratio was lower in the fatigued group than in the nonfatigued group. Partial correlation analyses, using disease duration and Hoehn and Yahr stage as control variables, also demonstrated significant correlations between the Parkinson fatigue scale score and the results of the autonomic function tests and cardiac 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine uptake. Our results suggest that autonomic dysfunction, including cardiac sympathetic denervation, is associated with fatigue in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-1874
Number of pages6
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15-08-2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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