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.
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