Mitochondrial enzymes discriminate between mitochondrial disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome

Mitochondrion. 2011 Sep;11(5):735-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 Jun 2.


We studied the extent of mitochondrial involvement in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and investigated whether measurement of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex (RCC) activities discriminates between CFS and mitochondrial disorders. Mitochondrial content was decreased in CFS compared to healthy controls, whereas RCC activities corrected for mitochondrial content were not. Conversely, mitochondrial content did not discriminate between CFS and two groups of mitochondrial disorders, whereas ATP production rate and complex I, III and IV activity did, all with higher activities in CFS. We conclude that the ATP production rate and RCC activities can reliably discriminate between mitochondrial disorders and CFS.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / biosynthesis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase / metabolism
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Assays
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / enzymology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / enzymology*
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / diagnosis
  • Mitochondrial Diseases / enzymology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Young Adult


  • Electron Transport Chain Complex Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Citrate (si)-Synthase