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Comprehensive Circulatory Metabolomics in ME/CFS Reveals Disrupted Metabolism of Acyl Lipids and Steroids

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
UC Davis Genome Center—Metabolomics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2020, 10(1), 34;
Received: 20 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 12 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
The latest worldwide prevalence rate projects that over 65 million patients suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), an illness with known effects on the functioning of the immune and nervous systems. We performed an extensive metabolomics analysis on the plasma of 52 female subjects, equally sampled between controls and ME/CFS patients, which delivered data for about 1750 blood compounds spanning 20 super-pathways, subdivided into 113 sub-pathways. Statistical analysis combined with pathway enrichment analysis points to a few disrupted metabolic pathways containing many unexplored compounds. The most intriguing finding concerns acyl cholines, belonging to the fatty acid metabolism sub-pathway of lipids, for which all compounds are consistently reduced in two distinct ME/CFS patient cohorts. We compiled the extremely limited knowledge about these compounds and regard them as promising in the quest to explain many of the ME/CFS symptoms. Another class of lipids with far-reaching activity on virtually all organ systems are steroids; androgenic, progestin, and corticosteroids are broadly reduced in our patient cohort. We also report on lower dipeptides and elevated sphingolipids abundance in patients compared to controls. Disturbances in the metabolism of many of these molecules can be linked to the profound organ system symptoms endured by ME/CFS patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: ME/CFS; metabolomics; acyl cholines; steroids; dipeptides; lipids ME/CFS; metabolomics; acyl cholines; steroids; dipeptides; lipids
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MDPI and ACS Style

Germain, A.; Barupal, D.K.; Levine, S.M.; Hanson, M.R. Comprehensive Circulatory Metabolomics in ME/CFS Reveals Disrupted Metabolism of Acyl Lipids and Steroids. Metabolites 2020, 10, 34.

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