Structural and Functional Small Fiber Abnormalities in the Neuropathic Postural Tachycardia Syndrome
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CitationGibbons, Christopher H., Istvan Bonyhay, Adam Benson, Ningshan Wang, and Roy Freeman. 2013. “Structural and Functional Small Fiber Abnormalities in the Neuropathic Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.” PLoS ONE 8 (12): e84716. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084716. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0084716.
AbstractObjective: To define the neuropathology, clinical phenotype, autonomic physiology and differentiating features in individuals with neuropathic and non-neuropathic postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Methods: Twenty-four subjects with POTS and 10 healthy control subjects had skin biopsy analysis of intra-epidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD), quantitative sensory testing (QST) and autonomic testing. Subjects completed quality of life, fatigue and disability questionnaires. Subjects were divided into neuropathic and non-neuropathic POTS, defined by abnormal IENFD and abnormal small fiber and sudomotor function. Results: Nine of 24 subjects had neuropathic POTS and had significantly lower resting and tilted heart rates; reduced parasympathetic function; and lower phase 4 valsalva maneuver overshoot compared with those with non-neuropathic POTS (P<0.05). Neuropathic POTS subjects also had less anxiety and depression and greater overall self-perceived health-related quality of life scores than non-neuropathic POTS subjects. A sub-group of POTS patients (cholinergic POTS) had abnormal proximal sudomotor function and symptoms that suggest gastrointestinal and genitourinary parasympathetic nervous system dysfunction. Conclusions and Relevance POTS subtypes may be distinguished using small fiber and autonomic structural and functional criteria. Patients with non-neuropathic POTS have greater anxiety, greater depression and lower health-related quality of life scores compared to those with neuropathic POTS. These findings suggest different pathophysiological processes underlie the postural tachycardia in neuropathic and non-neuropathic POTS patients. The findings have implications for the therapeutic interventions to treat this disorder.
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