MtDNA population variation in Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome in two populations: a study of mildly deleterious variants
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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition. There is growing interest in a possible etiologic or pathogenic role of mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in ME/CFS. Supporting such a link, fatigue is common and often severe in patients with mitochondrial disease.
We investigate the role of mtDNA variation in ME/CFS. No proven pathogenic mtDNA mutations were found. We then investigated population variation. Two cohorts were analysed, one from the UK (n = 89 moderately affected; 29 severely affected) and the other from South Africa (n = 143 moderately affected). For both cohorts, ME/CFS patients had an excess of individuals without a mildly deleterious population variant. The differences in population variation might reflect a mechanism important to the pathophysiology of ME/CFS.
Source: Venter M, Tomas C, Pienaar IS, Strassheim V, Erasmus E, Ng WF, Howell N, Newton JL, Van der Westhuizen FH, Elson JL. MtDNA population variation in Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome in two populations: a study of mildly deleterious variants. Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 27;9(1):2914. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39060-1. (Full article)