Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: from pathophysiological insights to novel therapeutic opportunities, by Gerwyn Morris, Basant K Puri, Adam J Walker, Michael Maes, Andre F Carvalho, Ken Walder, Catherine Mazza, Michael Berk in Pharmacological Research [Available online 8 September 2019] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104450
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a common and disabling condition with a paucity of effective and evidence-based therapies reflecting a major unmet need.
Cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise are of modest benefit for only some ME/CFS patients, and many sufferers report aggravation of symptoms of fatigue with exercise.
The presence of a multiplicity of pathophysiological abnormalities, in at least the subgroup of people with ME/CFS diagnosed with the current international consensus “Fukuda” criteria, points to numerous potential therapeutic targets. Such abnormalities include extensive data showing that at least a subgroup has a pro-inflammatory state, increased oxidative and nitrosative stress, disruption of gut mucosal barriers and mitochondrial dysfunction together with dysregulated bioenergetics.
In this paper, these pathways are summarised, and data regarding promising therapeutic options that target these pathways are highlighted; they include coenzyme Q10, melatonin, curcumin, molecular hydrogen and N-acetylcysteine. These data are promising yet preliminary, suggesting hopeful avenues to address this major unmet burden of illness.