Aim: To identify subtypes in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) based on DNA methylation profiles and health scores.
Methods: DNA methylome profiles in immune cells were integrated with symptomatology from 70 women with ME/CFS using similarity network fusion to identify subtypes.
Results: We discovered four ME/CFS subtypes associated with DNA methylation modifications in 1939 CpG sites, three RAND-36 categories and five DePaul Symptom Questionnaire measures. Methylation patterns of immune response genes and differences in physical functioning and postexertional malaise differentiated the subtypes.
Conclusion: ME/CFS subtypes are associated with specific DNA methylation differences and health symptomatology and provide additional evidence of the potential relevance of metabolic and immune differences in ME/CFS with respect to specific symptoms.
Keywords: CFS; DNA methylation; chronic fatigue syndrome; clinical subtyping; complex disease; epigenetics; health survey; myalgic encephalomyelitis; similarity network fusion; symptom heterogeneity.