Ion transportation

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Ion transportation refers to the transport of ions into or out of cells or cell compartments.[1]

Function[edit | edit source]

Ion transportation plays key roles in the functioning of many different bodily systems, including the nervous system, the endocrine system, energy metabolism and the cardiovascular system. Important ions, sometimes called electrolytes, include calcium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.[1]

Cell membranes are normally impermeable to ions.  Ion channels, ion pumps, and ion transporters are cell membrane proteins that allow and control ion transport into and out of cells, or between different compartments within cells.[1]

Ion channel diseases[edit | edit source]

Ion channel diseases are caused by mutations in ion channel genes.[1] Evidence of ion transportation dysfunction has been found in ME/CFS.[2]

Ion transportation dysfunction can result in an incorrect balance of different ions, which in extreme cases may cause death.

Sources[edit | edit source]

Ions are introduced to the body from food, drinks (including trace amounts in water), and can also be taken as supplements. Supplements can be injected or taken by mouth.

ME/CFS[edit | edit source]

Klaus Wirth and Carmen Scheibenbogen hypothesize that high intracellular sodium levels may be the primary cause of the dysfunction in MECFS. This hypothesis states that high intracellular sodium caused by infection or exertion triggers calcium channels to reverse. This creates a positive feedback loop where even small amounts of exertion can cause severe intracellular ion imbalance (PEM). In particular, intracellular calcium is essential to mitochondrial function, causing the energy dysfunction seen in ME/CFS. This hypothesis also predicts low intracellular potassium following exertion in ME/CFS patients, causing a form of hypokalemic periodic paralysis seen in severe patients.

An Australian research team led by Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik found that both ME/CFS and Long COVID patients had ion channel receptor dysfunction that affected the flow of calcium into and out of cells.[3]

Symptom Recognition[edit | edit source]

Symptoms resulting from ion transportation problems are part of the International Consensus Criteria.[2]

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

  • 2021, Potential Therapeutic Benefit of Low Dose Naltrexone in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Role of Transient Receptor Potential Melastatin 3 Ion Channels in Pathophysiology and Treatment[3] - (Full text)

Possible Causes[edit | edit source]

Potential Treatments[edit | edit source]

Electrolytes are one of the suggestions for treating energy metabolism and ion iransportation problems in general.

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

cell membrane A very thin membrane, composed of lipids and protein, that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell and controls the passage of substances into and out of the cell.

cell membrane A very thin membrane, composed of lipids and protein, that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell and controls the passage of substances into and out of the cell.

post-exertional malaise (PEM) - A notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small physical or cognitive exertions. PEM may be referred to as a "crash" or "collapse" and can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain, trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, and others.

myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) - A disease often marked by neurological symptoms, but fatigue is sometimes a symptom as well. Some diagnostic criteria distinguish it from chronic fatigue syndrome, while other diagnostic criteria consider it to be a synonym for chronic fatigue syndrome. A defining characteristic of ME is post-exertional malaise (PEM), or post-exertional neuroimmune exhaustion (PENE), which is a notable exacerbation of symptoms brought on by small exertions. PEM can last for days or weeks. Symptoms can include cognitive impairments, muscle pain (myalgia), trouble remaining upright (orthostatic intolerance), sleep abnormalities, and gastro-intestinal impairments, among others. An estimated 25% of those suffering from ME are housebound or bedbound. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies ME as a neurological disease.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.