TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 24 February 2017

February 24, 2017

From The Open Journal of Bioresources, 20 February 2017.

Bioresource Papers

The UK ME/CFS Biobank for biomedical research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) and Multiple Sclerosis

Eliana M Lacerda(1,*), Erinna W Bowman(1), Jacqueline M Cliff(2), Caroline C Kingdon(1), Elizabeth C King(2), Ji-Sook Lee(2), Taane G Clark(3), Hazel M Dockrell(2), Eleanor M Riley(2), Hayley Curran(1), Luis Nacul(1)
1) CureME Research Team, International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED), Department of Clinical Research (CRD), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, GB
2) Department of Immunology & Infection, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, GB
3) Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, GB


The UK ME/CFS Biobank was launched in August 2011 following extensive consultation with professionals and patient representatives. The bioresource aims to enhance research on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), related to pathophysiology, biomarkers and therapeutic approaches.

The cohort includes 18–60 year olds, encompassing 284 clinically-confirmed ME/CFS cases, 60 neurologist-diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) cases, and 135 healthy individuals.

The Biobank contains blood samples, aliquoted into serum, plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), red blood cells/granulocyte pellet, whole blood, and RNA (totalling 29,863 aliquots).

Extensive dataset (700 clinical and socio-demographic variables/participant) enables comprehensive phenotyping. Potential reuse is conditional to ethical approval.

From Frontiers in Physiology (open access), 17 February 2017.

The Neuroinflammatory Etiopathology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Julian A G Glassford, independent health researcher and consultant, Shrewsbury UK

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating multi-systemic chronic illness of unknown etiology, classified as a neurological disorder by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The symptomatology of the condition appears to emanate from a variety of sources of chronic neurological disturbance and associated distortions, and chronicity, in noxious sensory signaling and neuroimmune activation.

This article incorporates a summary review and discussion of biomedical research considered relevant to this essential conception perspective. It is intended to provide stakeholders with a concise, integrated outline disease model in order to help demystify this major public health problem.

The primary etiopathological factors presented are: (A) Postural/biomechanical pain signaling, affecting adverse neuroexcitation, in the context of compression, constriction, strain, or damage of vertebral-regional bone and neuromuscular tissues; (B) Immune mediated inflammatory sequelae, in the context of prolonged immunotropic neurotrophic infection—with lymphotropic/gliotropic/glio-toxic varieties implicated in particular; (C) A combination of factors A and B.

Sustained glial activation under such conditions is associated with oxidative and nitrosative stress, neuroinflammation, and neural sensitivity.

These processes collectively enhance the potential for multi-systemic disarray involving endocrine pathway aberration, immune and mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurodegeneration, and tend toward still more intractable synergistic neuro-glial dysfunction (gliopathy), autoimmunity, and central neuronal sensitization.

From Current Rheumatology Reports (a Polish journal), 23 January 2017.

Mechanisms Explaining Muscle Fatigue and Muscle Pain in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): a Review of Recent Findings

Morris Gerwyn (1), Michael Maes (2)
1) Tir Na Nogh, Llanelli, UK
2) Deaking University, School of Medicine and Barwon Health IMPACT Strategic Research Centre, Geelong, Australia



Here, we review potential causes of muscle dysfunction seen in many patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) such as the effects of oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS) and mitochondrial impairments together with reduced heat shock protein production and a range of metabolic abnormalities.


Several studies published in the last few years have highlighted the existence of chronic O&NS, inflammation, impaired mitochondrial function and reduced heat shock protein production in many patients with ME/CFS. These studies have also highlighted the detrimental effects of chronically elevated O&NS on muscle functions such as reducing the time to muscle fatigue during exercise and impairing muscle contractility. Mechanisms have also been revealed by which chronic O&NS and or impaired heat shock production may impair muscle repair following exercise and indeed the adaptive responses in the striated muscle to acute and chronic increases in physical activity.


The presence of chronic O&NS, low-grade inflammation and impaired heat shock protein production may well explain the objective findings of increased muscle fatigue, impaired contractility and multiple dimensions of exercise intolerance in many patients with ME/CFS.

From Brain, Behavior and Immunity (no web link or date found).

Neural Consequences of Post-Exertion Malaise in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Dane B. Cook, Alan R. Light, Kathleen C. Light, Gordon Broderick, Morgan R. Shields, Ryan J. Dougherty, Jacob D. Meyer, Stephanie VanRiper, Aaron J. Stegner, Laura D. Ellingson


Post exertion malaise is one of the most debilitating aspects of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, yet the neurobiological consequences are largely unexplored. The objective of the study was to determine the neural consequences of acute exercise using functional brain imaging.

Fifteen female Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients and 15 healthy female controls completed 30 minutes of submaximal exercise (70% of peak heart rate) on a cycle ergometer.

Symptom assessments (e.g. fatigue, pain, mood) and brain imaging data were collected one week prior to and 24 hours following exercise.

Functional brain images were obtained during performance of: 1) a fatiguing cognitive task – the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task, 2) a non-fatiguing cognitive task – simple number recognition, and 3) a non-fatiguing motor task – finger tapping.

Symptom and exercise data were analyzed using independent samples t-tests.

Cognitive performance data were analyzed using mixed-model analysis of variance with repeated measures.

Brain responses to fatiguing and non-fatiguing tasks were analyzed using linear mixed effects with cluster-wise (101-voxels) alpha of 0.05.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients reported large symptom changes compared to controls (effect size ≥0.8, p<0.05). Patients and controls had similar physiological responses to exercise (p>0.05).

However, patients exercised at significantly lower Watts and reported greater exertion and leg muscle pain (p<0.05).For cognitive performance, a significant Group by Time interaction (p<0.05), demonstrated pre- to post-exercise improvements for controls and worsening for patients. Brain responses to finger tapping did not differ between groups at either time point.During number recognition, controls exhibited greater brain activity (p<0.05) in the posterior cingulate cortex, but only for the pre-exercise scan.For the Paced Serial Auditory Addition Task, there was a significant Group by Time interaction (p<0.05) with patients exhibiting increased brain activity from pre- to post-exercise compared to controls bilaterally for inferior and superior parietal and cingulate cortices.Changes in brain activity were significantly related to symptoms for patients (p<0.05). Acute exercise exacerbated symptoms, impaired cognitive performance and affected brain function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.These converging results, linking symptom exacerbation with brain function, provide objective evidence of the detrimental neurophysiological effects of post-exertion malaise.

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