Urinary and plasma organic acids and amino acids in chronic fatigue syndrome

Clin Chim Acta. 2005 Nov;361(1-2):150-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cccn.2005.05.023.


Previous work by others have suggested the occurrence of one or more chemical or metabolic 'markers' for ME/CFS including specific amino acids and organic acids and a number of unidentified compounds (CFSUM1, CFSUM2). We have shown elsewhere that CFSUM1 is partially derivatised pyroglutamic acid and CFSUM2 partially derivatised serine and have suggested and demonstrated that the analytical methods used were unsuitable to identify or to accurately quantify urinary metabolites. We have now made a detailed analysis of plasma and urinary amino acids and of urinary organic acids from patients with ME/CFS and from three control groups. Fasting blood plasma and timed urine samples were obtained from 31 patients with CFS, 31 age and sex-matched healthy controls, 15 patients with depression and 22 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Plasma and urinary amino acids and urinary organic acids were determined using established and validated methods and data compared by statistical analysis. None of the previously reported abnormalities in urinary amino acids or of organic acids could be confirmed. Results however provide some evidence in patients with ME/CFS for underlying inflammatory disease and for reduced intramuscular collagen with a lowered threshold for muscle micro-injury. These factors in combination may provide a basis for the fatigue and muscle pain that are the major symptoms in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acids / blood*
  • Acids / urine*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amino Acids / blood*
  • Amino Acids / urine*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / blood*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organic Chemicals / blood*
  • Organic Chemicals / urine


  • Acids
  • Amino Acids
  • Organic Chemicals