Autonomic dysfunction in multiple sclerosis

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2013 Dec;115 Suppl 1:S73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2013.09.026.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the leading cause of neurological disability in young adults. Since the pathophysiology of MS is characterized by dissemination in space, as well as in time, the autonomic nervous system is inevitably damaged in the course of the disease in many patients and the proportion of affected patients increases with disease duration. Autonomic dysfunction (AD) in MS is explained by lesions in regions responsible for autonomic regulation such as nuclei in the periventricular region of fourth ventricle in the brainstem as well as medullar lesions. Reports about frequency of AD in MS patients vary notably between groups. Nevertheless its impact on quality of life is substantial but, unfortunately, often overlooked. The aim of this article is to present a concise review of various symptoms and signs of autonomic system dysfunction in MS.

Keywords: Autonomic dysfunction; Cardiovascular dysfunction; Multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / complications
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications
  • Urinary Bladder Diseases / complications