Sex Differences in the Correlation between Fatigue Perception and Regional Gray Matter Volume in Healthy Adults: A Large-Scale Study

J Clin Med. 2022 Oct 13;11(20):6037. doi: 10.3390/jcm11206037.


The relationship between fatigue perception and regional gray matter volume (rGMV) has seldom been studied in healthy adults. Therefore, this study aimed to analyze sex differences in the correlation between rGMV and fatigue perception using Chalder's fatigue questionnaire (CFQ). The CFQ was used to analyze the sexual features of rGMV related to the degree of perceived fatigue in 2955 healthy adults (male = 1560, female = 1395) of various ages (20-89 years, median 56). A higher CFQ score denotes a higher perceived fatigue level by the participant. According to the CFQ scores in males, the volumes of the right orbital part of the inferior frontal gyrus and left precuneus were negatively correlated (i.e., smaller rGMV had a higher CFQ score), whereas the left angular gyrus was positively correlated. In females, the right inferior temporal gyrus was negative, whereas the left middle temporal gyrus and right putamen were positive (i.e., larger rGMV had a higher CFQ score). The lack of identified regions in this large-scale study between males and females might be related to sex differences in clinical or pathological fatigue morbidities. Additionally, the sex differences in the negative or positive correlations between rGMV and fatigue perception may contribute to a better understanding of the neuronal mechanism in the early stages of fatigue development.

Keywords: Chalder’s fatigue questionnaire; coronavirus disease 2019; fatigue perception; myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome; regional gray matter volume.