Chronic fatigue syndrome: studies on skeletal muscle

Clin Neuropathol. 1992 Nov-Dec;11(6):329-32.


Chronic fatigue syndrome represents a poorly defined disease with protean clinical manifestations, the majority of them expressed as a muscle fatigue or as inability to maintain the expected muscle strength. In the present work we studied muscle function and muscle histopathology in 20 patients fulfilling the proposed criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. Special interest is directed towards the immunoreactive expression of class I MHC molecules comparing some inflammatory and virus-related myopathies with muscles from chronic fatigue syndrome. Only minor morphological changes were detected in 9 out of 20 patients of the series. The nonspecific morphological changes in muscle tissue and the lack of class I MHC expression does not support the viral etiology of muscle fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome. In contrast with the reported clinical improvement with high doses of essential fatty acids, our patients' clinical condition did not improve after three months of L-carnitine therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Carnitine / therapeutic use
  • Dermatomyositis / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / drug therapy
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / pathology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscles / pathology*
  • Polymyositis / pathology
  • Rhabdomyolysis / pathology


  • Carnitine