Altered muscle membrane potential and redox status differentiates two subgroups of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, by Yves Jammes, Nabil Adjriou, Nathalie Kipson, Christine Criado, Caroline Charpin, Stanislas Rebaudet, Chloé Stavris, Régis Guieu, Emmanuel Fenouillet & Frédérique Retornaz in Journal of Translational Medicine vol 18, no: 173 (2020)


Research abstract:

In myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), altered membrane excitability often occurs in exercising muscles demonstrating muscle dysfunction regardless of any psychiatric disorder. Increased oxidative stress is also present in many ME/CFS patients and could affect the membrane excitability of resting muscles.

Seventy-two patients were examined at rest, during an incremental cycling exercise and during a 10-min post-exercise recovery period. All patients had at least four criteria leading to a diagnosis of ME/CFS. To explore muscle membrane excitability, M-waves were recorded during exercise (rectus femoris (RF) muscle) and at rest (flexor digitorum longus (FDL) muscle). Two plasma markers of oxidative stress (thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) and oxidation–reduction potential (ORP)) were measured. Plasma potassium (K+) concentration was also measured at rest and at the end of exercise to explore K+ outflow.

Thirty-nine patients had marked M-wave alterations in both the RF and FDL muscles during and after exercise while the resting values of plasma TBARS and ORP were increased and exercise-induced K+ outflow was decreased. In contrast, 33 other patients with a diagnosis of ME/CFS had no M-wave alterations and had lower baseline levels of TBARS and ORP. M-wave changes were inversely proportional to TBARS and ORP levels.

Resting muscles of ME/CFS patients have altered muscle membrane excitability. However, our data reveal heterogeneity in some major biomarkers in ME/CFS patients. Measurement of ORP may help to improve the diagnosis of ME/CFS.

Trial registration Ethics Committee “Ouest II” of Angers (May 17, 2019) RCB ID: number 2019-A00611-56

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