Nagy-Szakal D, Barupal DK, Lee B, et al. Insights into myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome phenotypes through comprehensive metabolomics. Scientific Reports. 2018;8(1):10056. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28477-9.
The pathogenesis of ME/CFS, a disease characterized by fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, sleep disturbances, orthostatic intolerance, fever, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and lymphadenopathy, is poorly understood. We report biomarker discovery and topological analysis of plasma metabolomic, fecal bacterial metagenomic, and clinical data from 50 ME/CFS patients and 50 healthy controls. We confirm reports of altered plasma levels of choline, carnitine and complex lipid metabolites and demonstrate that patients with ME/CFS and IBS have increased plasma levels of ceramide. Integration of fecal metagenomic and plasma metabolomic data resulted in a stronger predictive model of ME/CFS (cross-validated AUC = 0.836) than either metagenomic (cross-validated AUC = 0.745) or metabolomic (cross-validated AUC = 0.820) analysis alone. Our findings may provide insights into the pathogenesis of ME/CFS and its subtypes and suggest pathways for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.