Neural dysregulation in post-COVID fatigue

Baker AM, Maffitt NJ, Del Vecchio A, McKeating KM, Baker MR, Baker SN, Soteropoulos DS (2023)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 5

Article Number: fcad122

Journal Issue: 3

DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcad122


Following infection with SARS-CoV-2, a substantial minority of people develop lingering after-effects known as ‘long COVID’. Fatigue is a common complaint with a substantial impact on daily life, but the neural mechanisms behind post-COVID fatigue remain unclear. We recruited 37 volunteers with self-reported fatigue after a mild COVID infection and carried out a battery of behavioural and neurophysiological tests assessing the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. In comparison with age- and sex-matched volunteers without fatigue (n = 52), we show underactivity in specific cortical circuits, dysregulation of autonomic function and myopathic change in skeletal muscle. Cluster analysis revealed no subgroupings, suggesting post-COVID fatigue is a single entity with individual variation, rather than a small number of distinct syndromes. Based on our analysis, we were also able to exclude dysregulation in sensory feedback circuits and descending neuromodulatory control. These abnormalities on objective tests may aid in the development of novel approaches for disease monitoring.

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Baker, A.M., Maffitt, N.J., Del Vecchio, A., McKeating, K.M., Baker, M.R., Baker, S.N., & Soteropoulos, D.S. (2023). Neural dysregulation in post-COVID fatigue. Brain Communications, 5(3).


Baker, Anne M.E., et al. "Neural dysregulation in post-COVID fatigue." Brain Communications 5.3 (2023).

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