The role of mitochondria in ME/CFS: a perspective, by Cara Tomas, Joanna L Elson in Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, 26 Feb 2019


Research review abstract:

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a debilitating disease, characterized by the symptom of severe fatigue. ME/CFS is a heterogeneous condition in both clinical presentation and disease duration. A diagnosis of ME/CFS is based on the exclusion of other diseases due to a current lack of known biomarkers for the disease. Patients may be split into categories based on the severity of their illness – mild, moderate and severe.

Here we consider some of the recent advances in the understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation that may have relevance to ME/CFS. Thus far, we have shown that ME/CFS patients do not harbor proven mtDNA mutations, another exclusion, albeit an important one. As such this group of patients do not fall within the category of patients with mitochondrial disorder.

If ME/CFS patients have some form of mitochondrial dysfunction, the form and cause of this dysfunction is a matter of debate. The current data underlines the need to move from small studies to larger endeavors applying multiple methods to well-defined cohorts with samples taken longitudinally.

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