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Understanding Potential Infectious Triggers and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in ME/CFS


Principal investigator:
Study start:
Not available
Completion (planned):
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Last update:


Research types:
Basic research
Research areas:
Infections, Nutritional and metabolic system disorder
Not applicable
Priv. Sector Partner:
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Project description

ME/CFS is a multi-factorial disorder with many triggers. Mounting epidemiological evidence implicates the Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and HHV-7 as two highly probable infectious triggers for ME/CFS. Using a unique HHV-6 latent cell culture model, the investigators have recently observed several overlapping phenotypes as reported in ME/CFS patients. The most convincing phenotypes include fragmented mitochondria, induced 1-carbon metabolism, dUTPase, thymidylate synthase and decreased superoxide dismutase 2, mitochondrial oxidation of fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose metabolism via pyruvate dehydrogenase pathways. Moreover, adoptive transfer of virus reactivated cell supernatants as well as ME/CFS patient serum led to an antiviral state in A549 cells that prevented superinfection with Influenza-A and HSV-1.

Based on these findings, the investigators propose that various infections including HHV-6 reactivation in ME/CFS patients effectuates a multisystem, proinflammatory, cell danger response that protects the host cells against certain RNA and DNA virus infections but comes at the cost of mitochondrial fragmentation and severely compromised energy metabolism. As a continuation of their research, the investigators propose several different methodologies that will allow potential diagnostic tests for ME/CFS and potential drugs that can revert the mitochondrial dysfunction phenotype to be developed.

(Description adapted from project website: see link above)

Patient cohort

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Patients enrolled: Not available

Age group: Not available

Research areas (6)
Research types (2)
Research networks (0)
Working groups (1)
People (1)
Publications (0)
Organisations (1)

Research areas

Mitochondrial dysfunction
Mitochondrial diseases are conditions caused by abnormal function of the mitochondira. They may be caused by mutations, acquired or inherited, in mitochondrial DNA or in nuclear genes that code for mitochondrial components. They may also be the result of acquired mitochondria dysfunction due to adverse effects of drugs, infections, or other environmental causes. (Description adapted from: ...
Research projects:
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6)
Human Herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is a member of the roseolovirus genus of the Betaherpesvirales subfamily isolated from patients with AIDS and other lymphoproliferateive disorders. It infects and replicates in fresh and established lines of hematopoietic cells and cells of neural origin. It also appears to alter the activity of NK cells. HHV-6 antibodies are elevated in patients with AIDS, Sjögre...
Research projects: