Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a disease characterized by chronic, profound, disabling, and unexplained fatigue. A variety of studies have been performed to establish objective biomarkers of the disease, including positron emission tomography (PET) molecular imaging and neuro-functional imaging using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetoencephalogram (MEG). In this chapter, we summarize the results from PET, MRI, and MEG imaging.
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Regional cerebral blood flow and glucose utilization rates are decreased in patients with ME/CFS as compared with age- and sex-matched healthy subjects. Acetyl-L-carnitine uptake into the releasable pool of glutamate and serotonin transporters densities are decreased in a few specific brain regions, mostly in the anterior cingulate in the patients. Although it is hypothesized that brain inflammation is involved in the pathophysiology of ME/CFS, there was no direct evidence of neuroinflammation in patients.
Our recent PET study successfully demonstrated that neuroinflammation is present in widespread brain areas in ME/CFS patients, and is associated with the severity of neuropsychological symptoms. Evaluation of neuroinflammation in patients with ME/CFS may be essential for understanding the core pathophysiology, as well as for developing objective diagnostic criteria and effective medical treatments for ME/CFS. By using specific neurological features of these patients such as prefrontal cortical atrophies and the over-guarding phenomenon were found using MRI and functional MRI, respectively. We here describe related pathophysiological findings and topics in order to aid in the development of future therapies for ME/CFS patients.
Source: Watanabe Y. Brain Science on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Brain Nerve. 2018 Nov;70(11):1193-1201. doi: 10.11477/mf.1416201164. [Article in Japanese] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30416112