Autonomic Dysfunction in Gulf War Veterans
Final rept. 31 Jan 2000-31 Oct 2004
MIDWEST RESEARCH INST KANSAS CITY MO
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We hypothesized that exaggerated reactivity of the autonomic nervous system ANS under stress, wartime exposures andor butyrylcholinesterase BChE mutations might lead military personnel to develop symptoms associated with Gulf War Illnesses GWI. We performed two studies designed to test these hypotheses. Study 1 examined wartime exposures and related them to BChE genotype in 160 Cases and 144 Controls. Study 2 examined Cases, Deployed Controls and Non-Deployed controls with a comprehensive ANS test battery, BChE genotype and wartime exposures. We found that BChE genotype, by itself, does not determine CaseControl status, but this genotype can interact with some wartime exposures especially pyridostigmine bromide to greatly increase the risk of GWI. In addition, veterans who met rigorous criteria for GWI showed measurable, objective differences in a number of ANS endpoints when compared to Control groups. In summary, the results of the present studies indicate that in our samples of Gulf War Veterans, GWI was associated with 1 altered autonomic function, 2 exposure to pyridostigmine bromide, and 3 being carriers of mutations of BChE when combined with exposure to pyridostigmine bromide. This last interaction produced the largest significant risk, which remained elevated when analyses were recomputed using the more lax CDC Case definition.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medicine and Medical Research