By Katarina Zimmer in The Scientist.
A finding of distinct patterns of gene-regulating RNA snippets in the blood of ME/CFS patients in response to a stress test could pave the way for a diagnostic tool for the condition and help untangle its underlying mechanisms.
Formerly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome has long been neglected by physicians, researchers, and funding agencies, not least due to its mysterious causes. It’s often hard for patients to find doctors who can diagnose ME/CFS, a widespread condition characterized by debilitating post-exertion fatigue and other symptoms.
A new study appears to make headway toward solving those difficulties. A recent analysis from more than 40 ME/CFS patients reports that a disease-specific stress test leaves a distinct signature of 11 microRNAs in their blood that change in abundance compared with blood drawn before the test. Most of these microRNAs are involved in regulating immunity, supporting the idea that immune dysfunction plays a key role in the disease’s pathology. The findings lay the groundwork for developing a molecular diagnostic test for the disease, the authors write in their study, which was published on November 12 in Scientific Reports.
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