Understanding Potential Infectious Triggers and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in ME/CFS

April 26, 2022

Project summary

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (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, we 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, we 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 our research, we propose here several different methodologies that will allow us to develop two potential diagnostic tests for ME/CFS and develop potential drugs that can revert the mitochondrial dysfunction phenotype.

Name and affiliation of the PI:

Dr. Bhupesh K Prusty Senior Researcher
Versbacher Straße 7
97078 Würzburg

Mehr Informationen unter
Universität Würzburg