Research News: Canadian Scientist Identify 11 MicroRNAs That Can Be Used As Biomarkers For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
: Researchers from Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center-Canada have identified 11 circulating microRNAs in the human body that can be used as biomarkers to determine if a person is suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex chronic disease, rooted in multi-system dysfunctions characterized by unexplained debilitating fatigue. Post-exertional malaise (PEM), defined as the exacerbation of the patient's symptoms following minimal physical or mental stress, is a hallmark of ME/CFS. While multiple case definitions exist, there is currently no well-established biomarkers or laboratory tests to diagnose ME/CFS.
This study aimed to investigate circulating microRNA expression in severely ill ME/CFS patients before and after an innovative stress challenge that stimulates PEM.
The research findings highlight the differential expression of eleven microRNAs associated with a physiological response to PEM. The present study uncovers specific microRNA expression signatures associated with ME/CFS in response to PEM induction and reports microRNA expression patterns associated to specific symptom severities. The identification of distinctive microRNA expression signatures for ME/CFS through a provocation challenge is essential for the elucidation of the ME/CFS pathophysiology, and lead to accurate diagnoses, prevention measures, and effective treatment options.
The study team validated eleven microRNAs (hsa-miR-28-5p, hsa-miR-29a-3p, hsa-miR-127-3p, hsa-miR-140-5p, hsa-miR-150-5p, hsa-miR-181b-5p, hsa-miR-374b-5p, hsa-miR-486-5p, hsa-miR-3620-3p, hsa-miR-4433a-5p, and hsa-miR-6819-3p), the first diagnostic panel of its kind. Differential expression of these eleven circulating miRNAs led to the identification of four ME/CFS clusters with distinct miRNA profiles and specific symptom severities.
The research findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Scientific Reports https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-76438-y
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), better known as chronic fatigue syndrome, is a complex chronic disease affecting some 650,000 Canadians and up to 3 million Americans. It's also poorly understood: until now there has been no validated blood biomarker or test to diagnose the disease.
The study team led by Dr Alain Moreau has developed an innovative diagnostic test that makes it possible for the first time to test patients who cannot participate in clinical studies due to the severity of their condition.
The breakthrough development of this test represents the first molecular diagnostic tool for ME and one that has been long awaited by many clinicians and patients say Dr Moreau and his team. It also opens up the possibility of classifying patients into subgroups to better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in their symptoms and to better select patients who could benefit from therapeutic approaches by repositioning existing drugs.
Simple mechanical stimulation applied to the arm by an inflatable arm cuff causes post-exertional malaise, the primary symptom of ME, and provides a pre
cise molecular signature that makes it possible to differentiate patients from normal subjects or those suffering from related conditions such as fibromyalgia.
It was found that an increase or reduction of some of the eleven microRNAs measured in the test can help predict the patient's therapeutic response to certain drugs, which improves the chances of finding the right therapy by personalizing the treatment.
Dr Moreau's team is now validating the test in other populations in order to determine whether the biomarkers used here are equally sensitive in detecting ME and equally relevant for launching new clinical trials. The test may allow for early detection of ME in people with persistent post-COVID-19 symptoms that are very similar to ME, making earlier intervention possible, the researchers add.
In addition, the researchers present possible mechanisms that still need to be validated, by which each of the miRNAs could play a role in the pathogenesis and etiology of ME/CFS.
Furthermore more detailed studies could help explain the correlation between theses 11 microRNAs and certain viral infections including SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 and can also trigger chronic fatigues syndromes in certain most individuals.
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