Persistence of enterovirus RNA in muscle biopsy samples suggests that some cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) result from a previous, inflammatory viral myopathy

Molecular hybridization using an enterovirus group specific

probe detected virus RNA in muscle biopsy samples from 25 of

96 cases of inflammatory muscle disease and similarly from 41

of 158 cases of postviral fatigue syndrome (PFS). Enterovirus

RNA was detected in only two of 152 samples of control muscle.

The inflammatory myopathy group comprised patients with

polymyositis (PM), juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) or adult

dermatomyositis (DM), and all showed the presence of an

inflammatory infiltrate and fiber necrosis on histological

examination of a muscle biopsy sample. In contrast, muscle

samples from the PFS group were histologically normal except

for non-specific changes such as occasional single fiber

atrophy. By analogy with enteroviral myocarditis, which can

progress to a post-inflammatory disease with persistence of

virus in myocardium and disposes to the rapid development of

dilated cardiomyopathy, we propose that PFS syndrome may be a

sequela of a previous inflammatory viral myopathy.

Bowles NE, Bayston TA, Zhang HY, Doyle D, Lane RJ, Cunningham L,

Archard LC

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