ME/CFS Research Published 4 – 10 September 2021

September 16, 2021

The weekly research round-up includes recent publications about ME/CFS and Long Covid. We highlight the studies that have particularly caught our interest and follow these with the full list of publications together with their abstracts (summaries).

All research relating to ME/CFS can be located in the ME Association: Index of ME/CFS Published Research. It is a FREE resource, available to anyone, and updated at the beginning of each month.

The Index provides an A-Z of published research studies, selected key documents and articles, listed by subject matter, on myalgic encephalomyelitis, myalgic encephalopathy, and/or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

You can use it to easily locate and read any research that you might be interested in regard to, e.g., epidemiology, infection, neurology, post-exertional malaise etc.

You can also find the Research Index in the Research section of the website together with a list of Research Summaries that provide more detailed lay explanations of the more interesting work that has been published to date.

We are definitely in a quiet period for ME/CFS published research as its been an exceptionally quiet week. There’s only been one new research study on ME/CFS but ten studies on Long COVID.

The one study on ME/CFS this week is a preprint and therefore has not been peer-reviewed. The study looks at a range of illnesses that cause chronic fatigue (chronic fatigue spectrum disorders (CFAS-D)) and looks at the protein-protein interactions (PPI). Despite grouping multiple conditions together, the authors did find some significant findings, highlighting several connections between different genes which code for proteins. Further analysis of the networks involved showed association with a range of important processes, including; cellular (antioxidant) detoxification, hydrogen peroxide metabolic process and anti-inflammatory signalling.

The authors concluded that chronic fatigue illness are triggered by a range of stimuli and the affects of the conditions are mediated through several different pathways (redox, NF-κB, and Wnt/catenin signalling pathways) which leads to multicellular dysfunctions.

You might also be interested in reading the studies within the long-COVID reference section. Paper one (1) looks at lifestyle adjustments for management, suggesting that there could be a benefit to plant-based diets in reducing inflammation. The ME Association has a leaflet on diets for ME/CFS and healthy diets, medical advice needs to be taken before making any diet changes.

Study three (3) may also be of interest as it looks at distinguishing between organ damage and deconditioning in long- COVID. This study concludes that a structured diagnosis pathway is needed, which will further help to identify organ damage.

ME/CFS Research References and Abstracts 

1. Aberrations in the cross-talks among redox, nuclear factor-κB and Wnt/catenin pathway signaling 

Maes M, Kubera M Kotańska M.
Preprints 2021, 2021090201


There is evidence that chronic fatigue spectrum disorders (CFAS-D) including Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and chronic fatigue with physiosomatic symptoms including when due to comorbid medical disease are characterized by neuroimmune and neuro-oxidative biomarkers.

The present study was performed to delineate the protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of CFAS-D and to discover the pathways, molecular patterns and domains enriched in their PPI network. We performed network, enrichment and annotation analysis using differentially expressed proteins and metabolics, which we established in CFAS-D patients.

PPI network analysis revealed that the backbone of the highly connective CFAS-D network comprises NFKB1, CTNNB1, ALB, peroxides, NOS2, TNF, and IL6, and that the network comprises interconnected immune-oxidative-nitrosative and Wnt/catenin subnetworks. MultiOmics enrichment analysis shows that the CFAS-D network is highly significantly associated with cellular (antioxidant) detoxification, hydrogen peroxide metabolic process, peroxidase and oxidoreductase activity, IL10 anti-inflammatory signaling, and neurodegenerative, canonical Wnt, the catenin complex, cadherin domains, cell-cell junctions and TLR2/4 pathways; and the transcription factors NF-κB and RELA.

The top-10 DOID annotations of the CFAS-D network include four intestinal, three immune system disorders, cancer and infectious disease. Custom GO term annotation analysis revealed that the CFAS-D network is associated with a response to a toxic substance, lipopolysaccharides, bacterium or virus.

In conclusion, CFAS-D may be triggered by a variety of stimuli and their effects are mediated by aberrations in the cross-talks between redox, NF-κB, and Wnt/catenin signaling pathways leading to dysfunctions in multicellular organismal homeostatic processes.

You might also be

Long-COVID Research References  

  1. Lifestyle Adjustments in Long-COVID Management: Potential Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
  2. Psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairment in “Long COVID”: the relevance of immunopsychiatry
  3. Long COVID: Distinction between Organ Damage and Deconditioning
  4. Patients’ Experiences of “Long COVID” in the Community and Recommendations for Improving Services: A Quality Improvement Survey
  5. Long COVID Patient Symptoms and its Evaluation and Management
  6. Post-COVID syndrome. A case series and comprehensive review
  7. Long term consequences of COVID-19

 Katrina Pears, Research Correspondent, ME Association 

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