Research abstract:

Circulating extracellular vesicles as potential biomarkers in chronic fatigue syndrome/ myalgic encephalomyelitis: an exploratory pilot study, by Jesús Castro-Marrero, Esther Serrano-Pertierra, Myriam Oliveira-Rodríguez, Maria Cleofé Zaragoza, Alba Martínez-Martínez, María del Carmen Blanco-López & José Alegre in Journal of Extracellular Vesicles Volume 7, 2018 – Issue 1  [Published online: 22 Mar 2018]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is an acquired, complex and multisystem condition of unknown etiology, no established diagnostic lab tests and no universally FDA-approved drugs for treatment.

CFS/ME is characterised by unexplicable disabling fatigue and is often also associated with numerous core symptoms. A growing body of evidence suggests that extracellular vesicles (EVs) play a role in cell-to-cell communication, and are involved in both physiological and pathological processes. To date, no data on EV biology in CFS/ME are as yet available.

The aim of this study was to isolate and characterise blood-derived EVs in CFS/ME. Blood samples were collected from 10 Spanish CFS/ME patients and 5 matched healthy controls (HCs), and EVs were isolated from the serum using a polymer-based method. Their protein cargo, size distribution and concentration were measured by Western blot and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Furthermore, EVs were detected using a lateral flow immunoassay based on biomarkers CD9 and CD63.

We found that the amount of EV-enriched fraction was significantly higher in CFS/ME subjects than in HCs (p = 0.007) and that EVs were significantly smaller in CFS/ME patients (p = 0.014). Circulating EVs could be an emerging tool for biomedical research in CFS/ME.

These findings provide preliminary evidence that blood-derived EVs may distinguish CFS/ME patients from HCs. This will allow offer new opportunities and also may open a new door to identifying novel potential biomarkers and therapeutic approaches for the condition.

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