Post-stroke fatigue as an indicator of underlying bioenergetics alterations

  • N. Jennifer KlinedinstEmail author
  • Rosemary Schuh
  • Steven J. Kittner
  • William T. Regenold
  • Glenn Kehs
  • Christine Hoch
  • Alisha Hackney
  • Gary Fiskum


Approximately half of stroke survivors suffer from clinically significant fatigue, contributing to poor quality of life, depression, dependency, and increased mortality. The etiology of post-stroke fatigue is not well understood and treatment is limited. This study tested the hypothesis that systemic aerobic energy metabolism, as reflected by platelet oxygen consumption, is negatively associated with fatigue and systemic inflammation is positively associated with fatigue in chronic ischemic stroke survivors. Data on self-reported level of fatigue, platelet oxygen consumption rates (OCR) and plasma inflammatory markers were analyzed from 20 ischemic stroke survivors. DNA copy number for two mitochondrial genes was measured as a marker of platelet mitochondrial content. Basal and protonophore-stimulated maximal platelet OCR showed a biphasic relationship to fatigue. Platelet OCR was negatively associated with low to moderate fatigue but was positively associated with moderate to high fatigue. DNA copy number was not associated with either fatigue or platelet OCR. Fatigue was negatively associated with C-reactive protein but not with other inflammatory markers. Post-stroke fatigue may be indicative of a systemic cellular energy dysfunction that is reflected in platelet energy metabolism. The biphasic relationship of fatigue to platelet OCR may indicate an ineffective bioenergetic compensatory response that has been observed in other pathological states.


Ischemic stroke Fatigue Bioenergetics Inflammation Platelets 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10863_2018_9782_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Maryland School of NursingBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.University of Maryland School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA

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