Clin Chim Acta. 2005 Aug 8; [Epub ahead of print] Chalmers RA, Jones MG, Goodwin CS, Amjad S. St George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK. McGregor et al reported increased levels of an unidentified urinary compound (CFSUM1) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), with reduced excretion of another unidentified compound (CFSUM2), and suggested the possibility of chemical or metabolic 'markers' for CFS.
The identity of CFSUM1 as reported was erroneous and the identities of these compounds have remained unknown until now. Urine samples were obtained from 30 patients with ME/CFS, 30 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, 20 control patients with depression and 22 control patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Samples were prepared using the published methods of McGregor et al. to produce heptafluorobutyryl-isobutyl derivatives of urinary metabolites. Alternative preparations utilised isopropyl, n-butyl and trifluoroacetyl derivatives. These were separated and identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. CFSUM2 was identified as being partially derivatised [isobutyl ester-mono-heptafluorobutyryl (HFB)] serine. CFSUM1 was identified as partially derivatised pyroglutamic acid, being the isobutyl ester without formation of a HFB derivative. Both CFSUM1 and CFSUM2 are artefacts of the sample preparation procedure and previously reported quantitative abnormalities of CFSUM1 and CFSUM2 in urine from patients with ME/CFS are also artefactual. Pyroglutamic acid may be of primarily dietary origin.
The methods used cannot provide reliable qualitative or quantitative data on urinary metabolites. No clinical or biochemical significance can be drawn between these compounds in ME/CFS or any other clinical conditions. PMID: 16095585 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]