A systematic review of metabolomic dysregulation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (CFS/ME/SEID), by Teilah Kathryn Huth, Natalie Eaton-Fitch, Donald Staines & Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik in Journal of Translational Medicine vol 18, no. 198 (2020)

Review abstract:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (CFS/ME/SEID) is a complex illness that has an unknown aetiology. It has been proposed that metabolomics may contribute to the illness pathogenesis of CFS/ME/SEID. In metabolomics, the systematic identification of measurable changes in small molecule metabolite products have been identified in cases of both monogenic and heterogenic diseases. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to evaluate if there is any evidence of metabolomics contributing to the pathogenesis of CFS/ME/SEID.

PubMed, Scopus, EBSCOHost (Medline) and EMBASE were searched using medical subject headings terms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, metabolomics and metabolome to source papers published from 1994 to 2020. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to identify studies reporting on metabolites measured in blood and urine samples from CFS/ME/SEID patients compared with healthy controls. The Joanna Briggs Institute Checklist was used to complete a quality assessment for all the studies included in this review.

11 observational case control studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. The primary outcome of metabolite measurement in blood samples of CFS/ME/SEID patients was reported in ten studies. The secondary outcome of urine metabolites was measured in three of the included studies. No studies were excluded from this review based on a low-quality assessment score, however there was inconsistency in the scientific research design of the included studies. Metabolites associated with the amino acid pathway were the most commonly impaired with significant results in seven out of the 10 studies. However, no specific metabolite was consistently impaired across all of the studies. Urine metabolite results were also inconsistent.

The findings of this systematic review reports that a lack of consistency with scientific research design provides little evidence for metabolomics to be clearly defined as a contributing factor to the pathogenesis of CFS/ME/SEID. Further research using the same CFS/ME/SEID diagnostic criteria, metabolite analysis method and control of the confounding factors that influence metabolite levels are required.

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