Front. Neurol., 10 January 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.01033
Michael B. VanElzakker*, Sydney A. Brumfield and Paula S. Lara Mejia
- Division of Neurotherapeutics, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
NeuroImage: Clinical Volume 28, 2020, 102366
Mapping of pathological change in chronic fatigue syndrome using the ratio of T1- and T2-weighted MRI scans
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102366Get rights and content
We showed increased T1w/T2w in ME/CFS in contrast to other neurodegenerative diseases.
Higher T1w/T2w occurred in basal ganglia and white matter tracts.
Increased T1w/T2w indicates increased myelin and/or iron levels.
T1w/T2w regressions vs clinical measures were abnormal in cingulate cortex and white matter foci.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) subjects suffer from a variety of cognitive complaints indicating that the central nervous system plays a role in its pathophysiology. Recently, the ratio T1w/T2w has been used to study changes in tissue myelin and/or iron levels in neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. In this study, we applied the T1w/T2w method to detect changes in tissue microstructure in ME/CFS patients relative to healthy controls. We mapped the T1w/T2w signal intensity values in the whole brain for forty-five ME/CFS patients who met Fukuda criteria and twenty-seven healthy controls and applied both region- and voxel-based quantification. We also performed interaction-with-group regressions with clinical measures to test for T1w/T2w relationships that are abnormal in ME/CFS at the population level. Region-based analysis showed significantly elevated T1w/T2w values (increased myelin and/or iron) in ME/CFS in both white matter (WM) and subcortical grey matter. The voxel-based group comparison with sub-millimetre resolution voxels detected very significant clusters with increased T1w/T2w in ME/CFS, mostly in subcortical grey matter, but also in brainstem and projection WM tracts. No areas with decreased T1w/T2w were found in either analysis. ME/CFS T1w/T2w regressions with heart-rate variability, cognitive performance, respiration rate and physical well-being were abnormal in both gray and white matter foci. Our study demonstrates that the T1w/T2w approach is very sensitive and shows increases in myelin and/or iron in WM and basal ganglia in ME/CFS.
Hum Mol Genet. 2020 Aug 3;ddaa169. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddaa169. Online ahead of print.
Genetic Risk Factors of ME/CFS: A Critical Review
Joshua J Dibble 1, Simon J McGrath 2, Chris P Ponting 1
PMID: 32744306 DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddaa169
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex multisystem illness that lacks effective therapy and a biomedical understanding of its causes. Despite a prevalence of approximately 0.2-0.4% and its high public health burden, and evidence that it has a heritable component, ME/CFS has not yet benefited from the advances in technology and analytical tools that have improved our understanding of many other complex diseases. Here we critically review existing evidence that genetic factors alter ME/CFS risk before concluding that most ME/CFS candidate gene associations are not replicated by the larger CFS cohort within UK Biobank. Multiple genome-wide association studies of this cohort also have not yielded consistently significant associations. Ahead of upcoming larger genome-wide association studies we discuss how these could generate new lines of enquiry into the DNA variants, genes and cell-types that are causally involved in ME/CFS disease.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Efficacy of Repeat Immunoadsorption
by Markus Tölle 1,Helma Freitag 2,Michaela Antelmann 2,Jelka Hartwig 2,Mirjam Schuchardt 1,Markus van der Giet 1,Kai-Uwe Eckardt 1,Patricia Grabowski 2,† andCarmen Scheibenbogen1
Department of Nephrology and Medical Intensive Care, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, 12203 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Medical Immunology, Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, 13353 Berlin, Germany
Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), 13353 Berlin, Germany
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2443; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082443
Received: 13 July 2020 / Accepted: 28 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Apheresis in Neurological Disorders)
(1) Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex neuroimmunological disease. There is evidence for an autoimmune mechanism for ME/CFS with an infection-triggered onset and dysfunction of ß2-adrenoreceptor antibodies (ß2AR-AB). In a first proof-of-concept study, we could show that IA was effective to reduce ß2AR-AB and led to improvement of various symptoms. (2) Five of the ME/CFS patients who had clinical improvement following treatment with a five-day IA were retreated in the current study about two years later with a modified IA protocol. The severity of symptoms was assessed by disease specific scores during a follow-up period of 12 months. The antibodies were determined by ELISA. (3) The modified IA treatment protocol resulted in a remarkable similar clinical response. The treatment was well tolerated and 80–90% decline of total IgG and ß2AR-AB was achieved. Four patients showed a rapid improvement in several clinical symptoms during IA therapy, lasting for six to 12 months. One patient had no improvement. (4) We could provide further evidence that IA has clinical efficacy in patients with ME/CFS. Data from our pilot trial warrant further controlled studies in ME/CFS.
Current Research Provides Insight into the Biological Basis and Diagnostic Potential for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
by Eiren Sweetman 1,Alex Noble 1,Christina Edgar 1,Angus Mackay 1,Amber Helliwell 1,Rosamund Vallings 2,Margaret Ryan 3 andWarren Tate 1,*
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. View Full-Text
Journal of translational medicine:
A SWATH-MS analysis of ME/CFS peripheral blood mononuclear cell proteomes reveals mitochondrial dysfunction: Sweetman,Vallings,Tate et al Aug 2020
Background: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a serious and complex physical illness that affects all body systems with a multiplicity of symptoms, but key hallmarks of the disease are pervasive fatigue and ‘post-exertional malaise’, exacerbation after physical and/or mental activity of the intrinsic fatigue and other symptoms that can be highly debilitating and last from days to months. Although the disease can vary widely between individuals, common symptoms also include pain, cognitive deficits, sleep dysfunction, as well as immune, neurological and autonomic symptoms. Typically, it is a very isolating illness socially, carrying a stigma because of the lack of understanding of the cause and pathophysiology.
Methods: To gain insight into the pathophysiology of ME/CFS, we examined the proteomes of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by SWATH-MS analysis in a small well-characterised group of patients and matched controls. A principal component analysis (PCA) was used to stratify groups based on protein abundance patterns, which clearly segregated the majority of the ME/CFS patients (9/11) from the controls. This majority subgroup of ME/CFS patients was then further compared to the control group.
Results: A total of 60 proteins in the ME/CFS patients were differentially expressed (P < 0.01, Log10 (Fold Change) > 0.2 and < -0.2). Comparison of the PCA selected subgroup of ME/CFS patients (9/11) with controls increased the number of proteins differentially expressed to 99. Of particular relevance to the core symptoms of fatigue and post-exertional malaise experienced in ME/CFS, a proportion of the identified proteins in the ME/CFS groups were involved in mitochondrial function, oxidative phosphorylation, electron transport chain complexes, and redox regulation. A significant number were also involved in previously implicated disturbances in ME/CFS, such as the immune inflammatory response, DNA methylation, apoptosis and proteasome activation.
Conclusions: The results from this study support a model of deficient ATP production in ME/CFS, compensated for by upregulation of immediate pathways upstream of Complex V that would suggest an elevation of oxidative stress. This study and others have found evidence of a distinct pathology in ME/CFS that holds promise for developing diagnostic biomarkers.
Plasma proteomic profiling suggests an association between antigen driven clonal B cell expansion and ME/CFS
- Milica Milivojevic ,Xiaoyu Che ,Lucinda Bateman,Aaron Cheng,Benjamin A. Garcia,Mady Hornig, Manuel Huber,Nancy G. Klimas,Bohyun Lee,Hyoungjoo Lee,Susan Levine,Jose G. Montoya,
- Daniel L. Peterson,Anthony L. Komaroff,W. Ian Lipkin
- Published: July 21, 2020 Plos One
Neuroimaging characteristics of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS): a systematic review
Zack Y. Shan, Leighton R. Barnden, Richard A. Kwiatek, Sandeep Bhuta, Daniel F. Hermens & Jim Lagopoulos
Journal of Translational Medicine volume 18, Article number: 335 (2020)
Published: 01 September 2020
Since the 1990s, neuroimaging has been utilised to study Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a debilitating illness with unknown aetiology. While brain abnormalities in ME/CFS have been identified, relatively little is known regarding which specific abnormalities are consistently observed across research groups and to what extent the observed abnormalities are reproducible.
To identify consistent and inconsistent neuroimaging observations in ME/CFS, this retrospective and systematic review searched for studies in which neuroimaging was used to investigate brain abnormalities in ME/CFS in Ovid MEDLINE, PubMed (NCBI), and Scopus from January 1988 to July 2018. A qualitative synthesis of observations was performed to identify brain abnormalities that were consistently and inconsistently reported.
63 full-text articles were included in the synthesis of results from 291 identified papers. Additional brain area recruitment for cognitive tasks and abnormalities in the brain stem are frequent observations in 11 and 9 studies using different modalities from different research teams respectively. Also, sluggish blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) signal responses to tasks, reduced serotonin transporters, and regional hypometabolism are consistent observations by more than two research teams. Single observations include abnormal brain tissue properties, regional metabolic abnormalities, and association of brain measures with ME/CFS symptoms. Reduced resting cerebral blood flow and volumetric brain changes are inconsistent observations across different studies.
Neuroimaging studies of ME/CFS have frequently observed additional brain area recruitment during cognitive tasks and abnormalities in the brain stem. The frequent observation of additional brain area recruitment and consistent observation of sluggish fMRI signal response suggest abnormal neurovascular coupling in ME/CFS.
Front. Neurol., 11 August 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.00826
How Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Progresses: The Natural History of ME/CFS
Luis Nacul1,2, Shennae O'Boyle1*, Luigi Palla3,4, Flavio E. Nacul5, Kathleen Mudie1, Caroline C. Kingdon1, Jacqueline M. Cliff6, Taane G. Clark6, Hazel M. Dockrell6 and Eliana M. Lacerda1
- 1Department of Clinical Research, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Hemodynamics during the 10-minute NASA Lean Test: evidence of circulatory decompensation in a subset of ME/CFS patients
Jihyun Lee, Suzanne D. Vernon, Patricia Jeys, Weam Ali, Andrea Campos, Derya Unutmaz, Brayden Yellman & Lucinda Bateman
Journal of Translational Medicine volume 18, Article number: 314 (2020)
Lightheadedness, fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, cognitive dysfunction, muscle pain, and exercise intolerance are some of the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance (OI). There is substantial comorbidity of OI in ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). The 10-minute NASA Lean Test (NLT) is a simple, point-of-care method that can aid ME/CFS diagnosis and guide management and treatment of OI. The objective of this study was to understand the hemodynamic changes that occur in ME/CFS patients during the 10-minute NLT.
A total of 150 ME/CFS patients and 75 age, gender and race matched healthy controls (HCs) were enrolled. We recruited 75 ME/CFS patients who had been sick for less than 4 years (< 4 ME/CFS) and 75 ME/CFS patients sick for more than 10 years (> 10 ME/CFS). The 10-minute NLT involves measurement of blood pressure and heart rate while resting supine and every minute for 10 min while standing with shoulder-blades on the wall for a relaxed stance. Spontaneously reported symptoms are recorded during the test. ANOVA and regression analysis were used to test for differences and relationships in hemodynamics, symptoms and upright activity between groups.
At least 5 min of the 10-minute NLT were required to detect hemodynamic changes. The < 4 ME/CFS group had significantly higher heart rate and abnormally narrowed pulse pressure compared to > 10 ME/CFS and HCs. The < 4 ME/CFS group experienced significantly more OI symptoms compared to > 10 ME/CFS and HCs. The circulatory decompensation observed in the < 4 ME/CFS group was not related to age or medication use.
Circulatory decompensation characterized by increased heart rate and abnormally narrow pulse pressure was identified in a subgroup of ME/CFS patients who have been sick for < 4 years. This suggests inadequate ventricular filling from low venous pressure. The 10-minute NLT can be used to diagnose and treat the circulatory decompensation in this newly recognized subgroup of ME/CFS patients. The > 10 ME/CFS group had less pronounced hemodynamic changes during the NLT possibly from adaptation and compensation that occurs over time. The 10-minute NLT is a simple and clinically useful point-of-care method that can be used for early diagnosis of ME/CFS and help guide OI treatment.
J Transl Med. 2020 Jul 29;18(1):290. doi: 10.1186/s12967-020-02452-3.
A systematic review of mitochondrial abnormalities in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome/systemic exertion intolerance disease
Sean Holden 1 2 3, Rebekah Maksoud 4 5 6, Natalie Eaton-Fitch 1 3 7, Hélène Cabanas 1 3, Donald Staines 1 3, Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik 1 3
PMID: 32727475 PMCID: PMC7392668 DOI: 10.1186/s12967-020-02452-3
Background: Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) or Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) present with a constellation of symptoms including debilitating fatigue that is unrelieved by rest. The pathomechanisms underlying this illness are not fully understood and the search for a biomarker continues, mitochondrial aberrations have been suggested as a possible candidate. The aim of this systematic review is to collate and appraise current literature on mitochondrial changes in ME/CFS/SEID patients compared to healthy controls.
Methods: Embase, PubMed, Scopus and Medline (EBSCO host) were systematically searched for articles assessing mitochondrial changes in ME/CFS/SEID patients compared to healthy controls published between January 1995 and February 2020. The list of articles was further refined using specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. Quality and bias were measured using the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Control Studies.
Results: Nineteen studies were included in this review. The included studies investigated mitochondrial structural and functional differences in ME/CFS/SEID patients compared with healthy controls. Outcomes addressed by the papers include changes in mitochondrial structure, deoxyribonucleic acid/ribonucleic acid, respiratory function, metabolites, and coenzymes.
Conclusion: Based on the included articles in the review it is difficult to establish the role of mitochondria in the pathomechanisms of ME/CFS/SEID due to inconsistencies across the studies. Future well-designed studies using the same ME/CFS/SEID diagnostic criteria and analysis methods are required to determine possible mitochondrial involvement in the pathomechanisms of ME/CFS/SEID.
Keywords: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Energy metabolism; Mitochondria; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.
Elife . 2020 Jul 7;9:e59177. doi: 10.7554/eLife.59177.
A mechanistic model and therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 involving a RAS-mediated bradykinin storm
Michael R Garvin 1, Christiane Alvarez 1, J Izaak Miller 1, Erica T Prates 1, Angelica M Walker 1 2, B Kirtley Amos 3, Alan E Mast 4, Amy Justice 5, Bruce Aronow 6 7, Daniel Jacobson 1 2 8
PMID: 32633718 PMCID: PMC7410499 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.59177
Neither the disease mechanism nor treatments for COVID-19 are currently known. Here, we present a novel molecular mechanism for COVID-19 that provides therapeutic intervention points that can be addressed with existing FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. The entry point for the virus is ACE2, which is a component of the counteracting hypotensive axis of RAS. Bradykinin is a potent part of the vasopressor system that induces hypotension and vasodilation and is degraded by ACE and enhanced by the angiotensin1-9 produced by ACE2. Here, we perform a new analysis on gene expression data from cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from COVID-19 patients that were used to sequence the virus. Comparison with BALF from controls identifies a critical imbalance in RAS represented by decreased expression of ACE in combination with increases in ACE2, renin, angiotensin, key RAS receptors, kinogen and many kallikrein enzymes that activate it, and both bradykinin receptors. This very atypical pattern of the RAS is predicted to elevate bradykinin levels in multiple tissues and systems that will likely cause increases in vascular dilation, vascular permeability and hypotension. These bradykinin-driven outcomes explain many of the symptoms being observed in COVID-19.
Keywords: COVID-19; bradykinin; computational biology; human; human biology; hyaluronic acid; medicine; pathogenesis; renin-angiotensin system; systems biology.
Front. Neurol., 18 September 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2020.01025
Characterization of Post–exertional Malaise in Patients With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Barbara Stussman1*, Ashley Williams2, Joseph Snow3, Angelique Gavin4, Remle Scott1, Avindra Nath4 and Brian Walitt5
1National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, United States
Background: Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by persistent and disabling fatigue, exercise intolerance, cognitive difficulty, and musculoskeletal/joint pain. Post–exertional malaise is a worsening of these symptoms after a physical or mental exertion and is considered a central feature of the illness. Scant observations in the available literature provide qualitative assessments of post–exertional malaise in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. To enhance our understanding, a series of outpatient focus groups were convened.
Methods: Nine focus groups totaling 43 patients who reported being diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome were held between November 2016 and August 2019. Focus groups queried post–exertional malaise in daily life and participants' retrospective memory of post–exertional malaise that followed an exercise provocation with a cardiopulmonary exercise test. Data analysis followed the grounded theory method to systematically code and categorize the data to find meaningful patterns. A qualitative software package was used to move text into categories during data coding.
Results: A wide range of symptoms were attributed to exertion both in daily lives and following cardiopulmonary exercise testing. While three core symptoms emerged (exhaustion, cognitive difficulties, and neuromuscular complaints), participants' descriptions were notable for their unique individual variations. Of 18 participants who responded to questions centered around symptoms following a cardiopulmonary exercise test, 17 reported that symptoms started within 24 h and peaked in severity within 72 h following the cardiopulmonary exercise test. Patients described post–exertional malaise as interfering with their ability to lead a “normal” life.
Conclusion: The experience of post–exertional malaise in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome varies greatly between individuals and leads to a diminished quality of life. myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients describe post–exertional malaise as all-encompassing with symptoms affecting every part of the body, difficult to predict or manage, and requiring complete bedrest to fully or partially recover. Given the extensive variability in patients, further research identifying subtypes of post–exertional malaise could lead to better targeted therapeutic options.
Autonomic Phenotypes in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Are Associated with Illness Severity: A Cluster Analysis
by Joanna Słomko 1,*,Fernando Estévez-López 2,Sławomir Kujawski 1,Monika Zawadka-Kunikowska 1,Małgorzata Tafil-Klawe 3,Jacek J. Klawe 1,Karl J. Morten 4,Justyna Szrajda 1,Modra Murovska 5,Julia L. Newton 6 andPaweł Zalewski 1 on behalf of the European Network on ME/CFS (EUROMENE)
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2531; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082531
Received: 15 July 2020 / Revised: 3 August 2020 / Accepted: 4 August 2020 / Published: 5 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology & Public Health)
In this study we set out to define the characteristics of autonomic subgroups of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The study included 131 patients with CFS (Fukuda criteria). Participants completed the following screening symptom assessment tools: Chalder Fatigue Scale, Fatigue Impact Scale, Fatigue Severity Scale, Epworth Sleepiness Scales, the self-reported Composite Autonomic Symptom Scale. Autonomic parameters were measured at rest with a Task Force Monitor (CNS Systems) and arterial stiffness using an Arteriograph (TensioMed Kft.). Principal axis factor analysis yielded four factors: fatigue, subjective and objective autonomic dysfunction and arterial stiffness. Using cluster analyses, these factors were grouped in four autonomic profiles: 34% of patients had sympathetic symptoms with dysautonomia, 5% sympathetic alone, 21% parasympathetic and 40% had issues with sympathovagal balance. Those with a sympathetic-dysautonomia phenotype were associated with more severe disease, reported greater subjective autonomic symptoms with sympathetic over-modulation and had the lowest quality of life. The highest quality of life was observed in the balance subtype where subjects were the youngest, had lower levels of fatigue and the lowest values for arterial stiffness. Future studies will aim to design autonomic profile-specific treatment interventions to determine links between autonomic phenotypes CFS and a specific treatment.
Keywords: autonomic; chronic fatigue; quality of life
Front. Pediatr., 12 June 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.00293
Review of the Quality Control Checks Performed by Current Genome-Wide and Targeted-Genome Association Studies on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Anna D. Grabowska1, Eliana M. Lacerda2, Luís Nacul2,3 and Nuno Sepúlveda4,5*
- 1Department of Biophysics and Human Physiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating disease characterized by persistent fatigue and post-exertion malaise, accompanied by other symptoms (1, 2). The direct cause of the disease remains elusive, but it may include genetic factors alongside environmental triggers, such as strong microbial infections and other stressors (3, 4).
With the aim to identify putative genetic factors that could explain the pathophysiological mechanisms of ME/CFS, four genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and two targeted-genome association studies (TGAS) were conducted in the past decade (5–10). In the four GWAS, thousands of genetic markers located across the whole genome were evaluated for their statistical association with ME/CFS (5–8). The two TGAS had the same statistical objective of the four GWAS, but alternatively investigated the association of the disease with numerous genetic markers located in candidate genes related to inflammation and immunity (9) and in genes encoding diverse adrenergic receptors (10). The findings from all these different studies suggested conflicting evidence of genetic association with ME/CFS: from absence of association (7), through mild association (10) up to moderate associations of a relatively small number of genetic markers (5, 6, 9). The most optimistic GWAS suggested more than 5,500 candidate gene-disease associations (8). This inconsistency in the reported findings prompted us to review the respective data. With this purpose, the present opinion paper first revisits the recommended quality control (QC) checks for GWAS and TGAS, and then summarizes which ones were performed by those studies on ME/CFS.
October 26, 2020
Association of Therapies With Reduced Pain and Improved Quality of Life in Patients With FibromyalgiaA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Rodrigo Oliveira Mascarenhas, MSc1; Mateus Bastos Souza, BAppSc2; Murilo Xavier Oliveira, PhD2; et alAna Cristina Lacerda, PhD2; Vanessa Amaral Mendonça, PhD2; Nicholas Henschke, PhD3; Vinícius Cunha Oliveira, PhD2
JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.5651
Question What is the association of therapies with reduced pain and improved quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia?
Findings In this systematic review, the effectiveness of most therapies for fibromyalgia was not supported. Strong evidence supported only cognitive behavioral therapy for pain, as well as antidepressants and central nervous system depressants for pain and quality of life, but these associations were small.
Meaning Some therapies may be associated with small reductions in pain and improvements in quality of life in people with fibromyalgia; however, current evidence is lacking for most therapies.
Importance Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that results in a significant burden to individuals and society.
Objective To investigate the effectiveness of therapies for reducing pain and improving quality of life (QOL) in people with fibromyalgia.
Data Sources Searches were performed in the MEDLINE, Cochrane, Embase, AMED, PsycInfo, and PEDro databases without language or date restrictions on December 11, 2018, and updated on July 15, 2020.
Study Selection All published randomized or quasi-randomized clinical trials that investigated therapies for individuals with fibromyalgia were screened for inclusion.
Data Extraction and Synthesis Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias using the 0 to 10 PEDro scale. Effect sizes for specific therapies were pooled using random-effects models. The quality of evidence was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment (GRADE) approach.
Main Outcomes and Measures Pain intensity measured by the visual analog scale, numerical rating scales, and other valid instruments and QOL measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.
Results A total of 224 trials including 29 962 participants were included. High-quality evidence was found in favor of cognitive behavioral therapy (weighted mean difference [WMD], −0.9; 95% CI, −1.4 to −0.3) for pain in the short term and was found in favor of central nervous system depressants (WMD, −1.2 [95% CI, −1.6 to −0.8]) and antidepressants (WMD, −0.5 [95% CI, −0.7 to −0.4]) for pain in the medium term. There was also high-quality evidence in favor of antidepressants (WMD, −6.8 [95% CI, −8.5 to −5.2]) for QOL in the short term and in favor of central nervous system depressants (WMD, −8.7 [95% CI, −11.3 to −6.0]) and antidepressants (WMD, −3.5 [95% CI, −4.5 to −2.5]) in the medium term. However, these associations were small and did not exceed the minimum clinically important change (2 points on an 11-point scale for pain and 14 points on a 101-point scale for QOL). Evidence for long-term outcomes of interventions was lacking.
Conclusions and Relevance This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that most of the currently available therapies for the management of fibromyalgia are not supported by high-quality evidence. Some therapies may reduce pain and improve QOL in the short to medium term, although the effect size of the associations might not be clinically important to patients.
Adding medical cannabis to standard analgesic treatment for fibromyalgia: a prospective observational study
Va. Giorgi1, Sa. Bongi
CER12788 2020 Vol.38, N°123 ,Suppl.123 - PI 0053, PF 0059
To assess any clinical improvement attributable to the addition of medical cannabis treatment (MCT) to the stable (>3 months) standard analgesic treatment of fibromyalgia (FM) patients, the retention rate and any changes in the concomitant analgesic treatment over a period of six months.
The study involved 102 consecutive FM patients with VAS scores ≥4 despite standard analgesic treatment. Patients were prescribed two oil-diluted cannabis extracts: Bedrocan (22% THC, <1% CBD), and Bediol (6.3% THC, 8% CBD). FM severity was periodically assessed using Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR), Fibromyalgia Assessment Scale (FAS), FACIT-Fatigue score, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and Zung Depression and Anxiety Scales. During the study, patients were allowed to reduce or stop their concomitant analgesic therapy.
The 6-month retention rate was 64%. A significant improvement in the PSQI and FIQR was observed in respectively 44% and 33% of patients. 50% showed a moderate improvement in the anxiety and depression scales. Multiple regression analysis showed a correlation between the body mass index (BMI) and FIQR improvement (p=0.017). Concomitant analgesic treatment was reduced or suspended in 47% of the patients. One-third experienced mild adverse events, which did not cause any significant treatment modifications.
This observational study shows that adjunctive MCT offers a possible clinical advantage in FM patients, especially in those with sleep dysfunctions. The clinical improvement inversely correlated with BMI. The retention rate and changes in concomitant analgesic therapy reflect MCT efficacy of the improved quality of life of patients. Further studies are needed to confirm these data, identify MCT-responsive sub-groups of FM patients, and establish the most appropriate posology and duration of the therapy.
PMID: 32116208 [PubMed]
Received: 19/09/2019 - Accepted : 09/12/2019 - In Press: 05/02/2020 - Published: 21/02/2020
© Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Pain. 2019 Apr;160(4):860-869. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001464.
An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia
Tine van de Donk 1, Marieke Niesters 1, Mikael A Kowal 2, Erik Olofsen 1, Albert Dahan 1, Monique van Velzen 1
PMID: 30585986 PMCID: PMC6430597 DOI: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001464
In this experimental randomized placebo-controlled 4-way crossover trial, we explored the analgesic effects of inhaled pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in 20 chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. We tested 4 different cannabis varieties with exact knowledge on their [INCREMENT]-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content: Bedrocan (22.4-mg THC, <1-mg CBD; Bedrocan International BV, Veendam, the Netherlands), Bediol (13.4-mg THC, 17.8-mg CBD; Bedrocan International BV, Veendam, the Netherlands), Bedrolite (18.4-mg CBD, <1-mg THC; Bedrocan International BV, Veendam, the Netherlands), and a placebo variety without any THC or CBD. After a single vapor inhalation, THC and CBD plasma concentrations, pressure and electrical pain thresholds, spontaneous pain scores, and drug high were measured for 3 hours. None of the treatments had an effect greater than placebo on spontaneous or electrical pain responses, although more subjects receiving Bediol displayed a 30% decrease in pain scores compared to placebo (90% vs 55% of patients, P = 0.01), with spontaneous pain scores correlating with the magnitude of drug high (ρ = -0.5, P < 0.001). Cannabis varieties containing THC caused a significant increase in pressure pain threshold relative to placebo (P < 0.01). Cannabidiol inhalation increased THC plasma concentrations but diminished THC-induced analgesic effects, indicative of synergistic pharmacokinetic but antagonistic pharmacodynamic interactions of THC and CBD. This experimental trial shows the complex behavior of inhaled cannabinoids in chronic pain patients with just small analgesic responses after a single inhalation. Further studies are needed to determine long-term treatment effects on spontaneous pain scores, THC-CBD interactions, and the role of psychotropic symptoms on pain relief.
Environmental, Neuro-immune, and Neuro-oxidative Stress Interactions in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Geir Bjørklund, Maryam Dadar, Lyudmila Pivina, Monica Daniela Doşa, Yuliya Semenova & Michael Maes
Molecular Neurobiology volume 57, pages4598–4607(2020)
Chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS) is a complex, multisystem disease that is characterized by long-term fatigue, exhaustion, disabilities, pain, neurocognitive impairments, gastrointestinal symptoms, and post-exertional malaise, as well as lowered occupational, educational, and social functions. The clinical and biomarker diagnosis of this disorder is hampered by the lack of validated diagnostic criteria and laboratory tests with adequate figures of merit, although there are now many disease biomarkers indicating the pathophysiology of CFS. Here, we review multiple factors, such as immunological and environmental factors, which are associated with CFS and evaluate current concepts on the involvement of immune and environmental factors in the pathophysiology of CFS. The most frequently reported immune dysregulations in CFS are modifications in immunoglobulin contents, changes in B and T cell phenotypes and cytokine profiles, and decreased cytotoxicity of natural killer cells. Some of these immune aberrations display a moderate diagnostic performance to externally validate the clinical diagnosis of CFS, including the expression of activation markers and protein kinase R (PKR) activity. Associated with the immune aberrations are activated nitro-oxidative pathways, which may explain the key symptoms of CFS. This review shows that viral and bacterial infections, as well as nutritional deficiencies, may further aggravate the immune-oxidative pathophysiology of CFS. Targeted treatments with antioxidants and lipid replacement treatments may have some clinical efficacy in CFS. We conclude that complex interactions between immune and nitro-oxidative pathways, infectious agents, environmental factors, and nutritional deficiencies play a role in the pathophysiology of CFS.
Radiology and imaging - BMJ Vol 10 Issue 8
Using structural and functional MRI as a neuroimaging technique to investigate chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy: a systematic review
Basim Almutairi1,2, Christelle Langley3, Esther Crawley4,
Objective This systematic review aims to synthesise and evaluate structural MRI (sMRI) and functional MRI (fMRI) studies in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).
Methods We systematically searched Medline and Ovid and included articles from 1991 (date of Oxford diagnostic criteria for CFS/ME) to first April 2019. Studies were selected by predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently reviewed the titles and abstracts to determine articles for inclusion, full text and quality assessment for risk of bias.
Results sMRI studies report differences in CFS/ME brain anatomy in grey and white matter volume, ventricular enlargement and hyperintensities. Three studies report no neuroanatomical differences between CFS/ME and healthy controls. Task-based fMRI investigated working memory, attention, reward and motivation, sensory information processing and emotional conflict. The most consistent finding was CFS/ME exhibited increased activations and recruited additional brain regions. Tasks with increasing load or complexity produced decreased activation in task-specific brain regions.
Conclusions There were insufficient data to define a unique neural profile or biomarker of CFS/ME. This may be due to inconsistencies in finding neuroanatomical differences in CFS/ME and the variety of different tasks employed by fMRI studies. But there are also limitations with neuroimaging. All brain region specific volumetric differences in CFS/ME were derived from voxel-based statistics that are biased towards group differences that are highly localised in space. fMRI studies demonstrated both increases and decreases in activation patterns in CFS/ME, this may be related to task demand. However, fMRI signal cannot differentiate between neural excitation and inhibition or function-specific neural processing. Many studies have small sample sizes and did not control for the heterogeneity of this clinical population. We suggest that with robust study design, subgrouping and larger sample sizes, future neuroimaging studies could potentially lead to a breakthrough in our understanding of the disease.
Reductions in Cerebral Blood Flow Can Be Provoked by Sitting in Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients
by C (Linda) MC van Campen 1,*,Peter C. Rowe 2 andFrans C Visser 1
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040394
Received: 7 September 2020 / Revised: 6 October 2020 / Accepted: 9 October 2020 / Published: 11 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ME/CFS – the Severely and Very Severely Affected)
Introduction: In a large study with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients, we showed that 86% had symptoms of orthostatic intolerance in daily life and that 90% had an abnormal reduction in cerebral blood flow (CBF) during a standard tilt test. A standard head-up tilt test might not be tolerated by the most severely affected bed-ridden ME/CFS patients. Sitting upright is a milder orthostatic stress. The present study examined whether a sitting test, measuring cerebral blood flow by extracranial Doppler, would be sufficient to provoke abnormal reductions in cerebral blood flow in severe ME/CFS patients. Methods and results: 100 severe ME/CFS patients were studied, (88 females) and were compared with 15 healthy controls (HC) (13 females). CBF was measured first while seated for at least one hour, followed by a CBF measurement in the supine position. Fibromyalgia was present in 37 patients. Demographic data as well as supine heart rate and blood pressures were not different between ME/CFS patients and HC. Heart rate and blood pressure did not change significantly between supine and sitting both in patients and HC. Supine CBF was not different between patients and HC. In contrast, absolute CBF during sitting was lower in patients compared to HC: 474 (96) mL/min in patients and 627 (89) mL/min in HC; p < 0.0001. As a result, percent CBF reduction while seated was −24.5 (9.4)% in severe ME/CFS patients and −0.4 (1.2)% in HC (p < 0.0001). In the ten patients who had no orthostatic intolerance complaints in daily life, the CBF reduction was −2.7 (2.1)%, which was not significantly different from HC (p = 0.58). The remaining 90 patients with orthostatic intolerance complaints had a −26.9 (6.2)% CBF reduction. No difference in CBF parameters was found in patients with and without fibromyalgia. Patients with a previous diagnosis of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) had a significantly larger CBF reduction compared with those without POTS: 28.8 (7.2)% vs. 22.3 (9.7)% (p = 0.0008). Conclusions: A sitting test in severe ME/CFS patients was sufficient to provoke a clinically and statistically significant mean CBF decline of 24.5%. Patients with a previous diagnosis of POTS had a larger CBF reduction while seated, compared to patients without POTS. The magnitude of these CBF reductions is similar to the results in less severely affected ME/CFS patients during head-up tilt, suggesting that a sitting test is adequate for the diagnosis of orthostatic intolerance in severely affected patients.
Persistent fatigue following SARS-CoV-2 infection is common and independent of severity of initial infection
- Liam Townsend ,Adam H. Dyer ,Karen Jones,Jean Dunne,Aoife Mooney,Fiona Gaffney,Laura O'Connor,Deirdre Leavy,Kate O'Brien,Joanne Dowds,Jamie A. Sugrue,David Hopkins,Ignacio Martin-Loeches,Niall Conlon
- Published: November 9, 2020 Plos One https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240784
Fatigue is a common symptom in those presenting with symptomatic COVID-19 infection. However, it is unknown if COVID-19 results in persistent fatigue in those recovered from acute infection. We examined the prevalence of fatigue in individuals recovered from the acute phase of COVID-19 illness using the Chalder Fatigue Score (CFQ-11). We further examined potential predictors of fatigue following COVID-19 infection, evaluating indicators of COVID-19 severity, markers of peripheral immune activation and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Of 128 participants (49.5 ± 15 years; 54% female), more than half reported persistent fatigue (67/128; 52.3%) at median of 10 weeks after initial COVID-19 symptoms. There was no association between COVID-19 severity (need for inpatient admission, supplemental oxygen or critical care) and fatigue following COVID-19. Additionally, there was no association between routine laboratory markers of inflammation and cell turnover (leukocyte, neutrophil or lymphocyte counts, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein) or pro-inflammatory molecules (IL-6 or sCD25) and fatigue post COVID-19. Female gender and those with a pre-existing diagnosis of depression/anxiety were over-represented in those with fatigue. Our findings demonstrate a significant burden of post-viral fatigue in individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection after the acute phase of COVID-19 illness. This study highlights the importance of assessing those recovering from COVID-19 for symptoms of severe fatigue, irrespective of severity of initial illness, and may identify a group worthy of further study and early intervention.
Editor: Giordano Madeddu, University of Sassari, ITALY
Received: July 22, 2020; Accepted: October 2, 2020; Published: November 9, 2020
. PLoS ONE 15(11): e0240784. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240784