Association Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome With Premature Telomere Attrition

Research Study


From Solve ME?CFS Initiative.


Research Highlight

March 20, 2018

What you need to know:

  • Telomeres are sections of DNA that cap the ends of our chromosomes and protect against damage. Because these sequences of code become shorter each time the cell divides, they act as a sort of clock on the lifespan of a cell and limit cells to a set number of replications (replicative senescence). This mechanism makes it less likely that damaged, aged, or mutated cells will be replicated
  • There is evidence that telomere attrition (shortening) is connected with a variety of metabolic and inflammatory diseases.
  • Mangalathu et al found a significant association of premature telomere attrition with ME/CFS
  • The relationship was found to be strengthened by the variable of sex – within the subset of female subjects less than 45 years old, 95% of those with ME/CFS had a telomere length shorter than the mean length in the “non-fatigued” control group
  • The authors point to the possibility that ME/CFS could be categorized as a condition associated with accelerated aging, and that more work is needed to address the significance in ME/CFS


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