This is a transcript provided for those who would prefer to not watch a webinar but are also a fantastic follow on for more self-study. Transcript (source ME/CVS Vereniging)
In the past few years, Julia has received funding from ME Research UK to look into physiological aspects of ME/CFS, uncovering acid accumulation in muscle and progressing to experiments on isolated muscle cells and nanosensors. Her presentation discusses some of this work and its relationship to autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
These seminars are produced under the auspices of ‘Science to Patients’, which is a Dutch government subsidized project, in which the gap between medical science and patients is bridged by inviting scientists to deliver short webinars on topics of concern to patients.
Why does acid accumulate in the muscles?
So our experiments performed with MRI scans where we’ve asked people with ME to exercise while we were measuring the accumulation of acid in their muscles, suggest that patients with ME have about 20 times more acid in their muscles than we would expect them to have. The findings from our experiments with patients with ME are very similar to those from patients with fatigue associated chronic diseases. In terms of why this might happen, in our experiments we’ve been able to show that the degree to which the acid accumulates seems to associate with the presence and severity of autonomic dysfunction. So we think in some way, the autonomic nervous system is regulating or modulating this accumulation of acid.
We know that the autonomic nervous system controls some of the transporters that are on the cell surfaces of muscle cells. So it may be that these transporters are not working as efficiently to remove acid from the cells as they really ought. Or it may equally be that the blood flow run off from the muscles as they exercise, which we know is modulated by the autonomic nervous system, perhaps again is meaning that the acid is not washed away from the muscles as they exercise. It’s difficult to know why the transmitters don’t work properly. It may be that there’s some process that damages these transmitters or it may be that there’s some problem in the metabolic chain that leads up to the development of acid within the cells. Our experiments performed with the muscle cells in the lab, suggest that there may be deficiencies of certain proteins or kinases within the metabolic pathway which could potentially be modulated by medication.
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