[Note: The full text pdf of this article outlining a way that ME/CFS symptoms might develop is available free at http://www.scirp.org/journal/nm/]
Kindling might represent a heuristic model [to be tested] for understanding the etiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).
Kindling occurs when an organism is exposed repeatedly to an initially sub-threshold stimulus re-sulting in hypersensitivity and spontaneous seizure-like activity.
Among patients with ME/CFS:
• Chronically repeated low-intensity stimulation due to an infectious illness might cause kindling of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
• Kindling might also occur by high-intensity stimulation (e.g., brain trauma) of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
Once this system is charged or kindled, it can sustain a high level of arousal with little or no external stimulus and eventually this could lead to hypocortisolism [adrenal insufficiency].
Seizure activity may spread to adjacent structures of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis in the brain, which might be responsible for the varied symptoms that occur among patients with ME/CFS.
In addition, kindling may also be responsible for high levels of oxidative stress [free radicals], which has been found in patients with ME/CFS.
Source: Neuroscience & Medicine, Apr 2011;2, 14-27. DOI:10.4236/nm.2011.21003, by Jason LA, Sorenson M, Porter N, Belkairous N. DePaul University, Center for Community Research, Chicago, Illinois, USA. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]