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Preliminary determination of a molecular basis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 17 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • April 12, 1996

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) is a debilitating fatigue
illness that has an unknown etiology. We studied 20 chronic
fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients, who complied with the Oxford
and American CDC definitions, and 45 non-CFS subjects.
Participants completed questionnaires, were clinically
examined, and had first morning urine specimens collected,
which were screened by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
for changes in metabolite excretion. Multivariate analysis of
the urinary metabolite profiles differed significantly in the
CFS patients compared to the non-CFS patients (P < 0.004).
The CFS patients had increases in
aminohydroxy-N-methylpyrrolidine (P < 0.00003, referred to as
chronic fatigue symptom urinary marker 1, or CFSUM1), tyrosine
(P < 0.02), beta-alanine (P < 0.02), aconitic acid (P <
0.05), and succinic acid (P < 0.05) and reductions in an
unidentified urinary metabolite, CFSUM2 (P < 0.0007), alanine
(P < 0.005), and glutamic acid (P < 0.02). CFSUM1,
beta-alanine, and CFSUM2 were found by discriminant function
analysis to be the first, second, and third most important
metabolites, respectively for discriminating between CFS and
non-CFS subjects. The abundances of CFSUM1 and beta-alanine
were positively correlated with symptom incidence (P < 0.01
and P < 0.001, respectively), symptom severity, core CFS
symptoms, and SCL-90-R somatization (P < 0.00001),
suggesting a molecular basis for CFS.

McGregor NR, Dunstan RH, Zerbes M AU - Butt HL, Roberts TK,
Klineberg IJ

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