Current Research Provides Insight into the Biological Basis and Diagnostic Potential for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
Howick Health and Medical Centre, Auckland 2014, New Zealand
Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diagnostics 2019, 9(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics9030073
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 22 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 July 2019 / Published: 10 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomedical Insights that Inform the Diagnosis of ME/CFS)
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a severe fatigue illness that occurs most commonly following a viral infection, but other physiological triggers are also implicated. It has a profound long-term impact on the life of the affected person. ME/CFS is diagnosed primarily by the exclusion of other fatigue illnesses, but the availability of multiple case definitions for ME/CFS has complicated diagnosis for clinicians. There has been ongoing controversy over the nature of ME/CFS, but a recent detailed report from the Institute of Medicine (Academy of Sciences, USA) concluded that ME/CFS is a medical, not psychiatric illness. Importantly, aspects of the biological basis of the ongoing disease have been revealed over the last 2–3 years that promise new leads towards an effective clinical diagnostic test that may have a general application. Our detailed molecular studies with a preclinical study of ME/CFS patients, along with the complementary research of others, have reported an elevation of inflammatory and immune processes, ongoing neuro-inflammation, and decreases in general metabolism and mitochondrial function for energy production in ME/CFS, which contribute to the ongoing remitting/relapsing etiology of the illness. These biological changes have generated potential molecular biomarkers for use in diagnostic ME/CFS testing.