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Davis, S L.1; Vener, J M.1; Wilson, T E.1; Schaffer, R A.1; White, A T.1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2002 - Volume 34 - Issue 5 - p S169
E19d Free Communication/Slide Multiple Sclerosis/Neuromuscular Disorders

1University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) leads to impaired autonomic control of vasomotor and sudomotor functions contributing to abnormal sweating responses.

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The goal of the present investigation was to compare sweat gland density (SgD), sweat volume (Svol), and sweat volume per gland (Svol/gl) between minimally affected MS patients (MIN; EDSS = 2–3.5; n = 6), moderately affected MS patients (MOD; EDSS = 4.0–6.5; n = 9) and healthy controls (CON, n = 8).

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Groups were matched by gender, age, height, weight, and aerobic fitness. Pilocarpine was iontophoresed to the ventral side of the forearm, 3–4 cm distal to the antecubital space, to stimulate maximal sweating. An environmentally sealed sweat collection disc was placed over the stimulated area to collect sweat for 15 minutes. Svol was determined from pre- and post- collector weights. Iodine-treated paper with 1 cm grids was applied to the stimulated area to determine active SgD. Svol/gl was calculated by dividing Svol by the density of glands under the collector.

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No differences in SgD were observed between groups. Svol and Svol/gl in MOD (17.8 ± 8.0 mg;.024 ± .010 mg/gl) were significantly lower (p ± .05) than CON (34.3 ± 19.0 mg;.043 ± .018 mg/gl). No other differences were observed in Svol and Svol/gl.

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Results suggest that MS patients have similar sweat gland density to CON. However, moderately affected MS patients may have compromised sweat function (reduced volume per gland) complicating existing heat sensitivity. Investigation supported by a grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

©2002The American College of Sports Medicine