Somatomedin C (insulin-like growth factor I) levels in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder clinically quite similar to

fibromyalgia syndrome, and it is of interest to examine if

these two syndromes have pathogenetic as well as clinical

features in common. Somatomedin C levels have been found to be

lower in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome than in healthy


An attractive hypothesis relating sleep disturbance,

altered somatotropic neuroendocrine function and fibromyalgia

symptoms has been put forward as a plausible pathogenic

mechanism for fibromyalgia syndrome. We therefore sought to

investigate the level of somatomedin C in patients with

chronic fatigue syndrome. Somatomedin C levels were determined

by radioimmunoassay in frozen serum specimens from 49 patients

with CFS and 30 healthy blood donor control subjects of

similar age and gender. Somatomedin C levels were higher in

patients with CFS than in healthy control subjects (255.3 +/-

68.5 vs 211.9 +/- 76.2, P = 0.01). There was no effect of

gender, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or

tricyclic drugs on levels of somatomedin C. There was a

tendency for somatomedin C levels to fall with age. In

contrast to patients with fibromyalgia, in whom levels of

somatomedin C have been found to be reduced, levels in

patients with CFS were found to be elevated. Thus, despite the

clinical similarities between these two conditions, they may

be associated with different abnormalities of sleep and/or of

the somatotropic neuroendocrine axis.

MCM: From 1994 AACFS meeting in Ft. Lauderdale

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