Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a complex disease of unknown etiology. Multiple studies point to disruptions in immune functioning in ME/CFS patients as well as specific genetic polymorphisms and alterations of the DNA methylome in lymphocytes. However, potential interactions between DNA methylation and genetic background in relation to ME/CFS have not been examined. In this study we explored this association by characterizing the epigenetic (~480 thousand CpG loci) and genetic (~4.3 million SNPs) variation between cohorts of ME/CFS patients and healthy controls. We found significant associations of DNA methylation states in T-lymphocytes at several CpG loci and regions with ME/CFS phenotype. These methylation anomalies are in close proximity to genes involved with immune function and cellular metabolism. Finally, we found significant correlations of genotypes with methylation modifications associated with ME/CFS. The findings from this study highlight the role of epigenetic and genetic interactions in complex diseases, and suggest several genetic and epigenetic elements potentially involved in the mechanisms of disease in ME/CFS.
Keywords: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; DNA methylation; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis; genotype; mQTL.