Do Microglia Cause Chronic Pain and Fatigue?

Published: December 8th, 2015

Category: Blog-Posts

MicrogliaMicroglia surround and protect the neurons in our brains and spinal cord. These cells are the main immune defenders in the brain and are responsible for releasing inflammatory and neuro-protective substances. These substances may cause symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess. For most patients these symptoms can be crippling at times. Some researchers believe stress and infection can cause the microglia to become hypersensitive causing neuroinflammation that may result in conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS). In a small study that used PET scans to measure microglial activation, researchers found that microglia were activated in large areas of the brain of chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Researchers believe that microglial sensitization could be the cause of fatigue; they also believe reducing the activity of microglial could improve ME/CFS and FMS.  Our lab is focused on chronic pain and fatigue and works on understanding their mechanisms. For more information about this and other topics please contact us at 352-265-8901 or email us at painresearch@medicine.ufl.edu