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Investigation by polymerase chain reaction of enteroviral infection in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 36 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • April 15, 1996


1. Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by muscle fatigue and
pain at rest, symptoms which are usually exacerbated with
exercise. Although various studies have shown minor,
non-specific morphological and biochemical changes in muscle
of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, no consistent
defect has been identified. Some have suggested that an
enteroviral infection in muscle may cause the chronic muscle
fatigue seen in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, with
acute infection directly and irreversibly impairing
mitochondrial function, and persistent infection depressing
muscle protein synthesis and metabolism.

2. To clarify the
involvement of enterovirus infection in chronic fatigue
syndrome, muscle biopsies from a group of patients with
chronic fatigue syndrome were examined for the presence of
enteroviral RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain
reaction techniques in relation to functional studies of
muscle mitochondria and the muscle RNA/DNA ratio.

3. Fifty-eight percent of patients reported an uncharacterized
'viral infection' before the onset of their illness, but none
of the muscle samples from 34 patients contained detectable
amounts of enteroviral RNA. Muscle tissue had a general
reduction in the RNA/DNA ratio and mitochondrial enzyme
activities with no specific abnormality in the activity of
enzymes encoded partially on the mitochondrial genome
(cytochrome-c oxidase) or nuclear genome (citrate synthase,
succinate reductase).

4. These data provide no evidence of an
enteroviral infection in muscle of patients with chronic
fatigue syndrome, although this does not exclude a role of
enterovirus in initiating the disease process. The general
reduction in RNA/DNA ratio and mitochondrial enzyme activities
is consistent with a general reduction in habitual activity.

McArdle A, McArdle F, Jackson MJ, Page SF, Fahal I, Edwards RH




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