Potential role of microbiome in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelits (CFS/ME)

Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 29;11(1):7043. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-86425-6.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a severe multisystemic disease characterized by immunological abnormalities and dysfunction of energy metabolism. Recent evidences suggest strong correlations between dysbiosis and pathological condition. The present research explored the composition of the intestinal and oral microbiota in CFS/ME patients as compared to healthy controls. The fecal metabolomic profile of a subgroup of CFS/ME patients was also compared with the one of healthy controls. The fecal and salivary bacterial composition in CFS/ME patients was investigated by Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons. The metabolomic analysis was performed by an UHPLC-MS. The fecal microbiota of CFS/ME patients showed a reduction of Lachnospiraceae, particularly Anaerostipes, and an increased abundance of genera Bacteroides and Phascolarctobacterium compared to the non-CFS/ME groups. The oral microbiota of CFS/ME patients showed an increase of Rothia dentocariosa. The fecal metabolomic profile of CFS/ME patients revealed high levels of glutamic acid and argininosuccinic acid, together with a decrease of alpha-tocopherol. Our results reveal microbial signatures of dysbiosis in the intestinal microbiota of CFS/ME patients. Further studies are needed to better understand if the microbial composition changes are cause or consequence of the onset of CFS/ME and if they are related to any of the several secondary symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Dysbiosis / complications
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / complications
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / metabolism
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Metabolomics
  • Microbiota*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S