Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): An Overview

J Clin Med. 2021 Oct 19;10(20):4786. doi: 10.3390/jcm10204786.


Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic systemic disease that manifests via various symptoms such as chronic fatigue, post-exertional malaise, and cognitive impairment described as "brain fog". These symptoms often prevent patients from keeping up their pre-disease onset lifestyle, as extended periods of physical or mental activity become almost impossible. However, the disease presents heterogeneously with varying severity across patients. Therefore, consensus criteria have been designed to provide a diagnosis based on symptoms. To date, no biomarker-based tests or diagnoses are available, since the molecular changes observed also largely differ from patient to patient. In this review, we discuss the infectious, genetic, and hormonal components that may be involved in CFS pathogenesis, we scrutinize the role of gut microbiota in disease progression, we highlight the potential of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) for the development of diagnostic tools and briefly mention the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 infection causing CFS.

Keywords: COVID-19; ME/CFS; depression; diagnosis; dysbiosis; genetics; hormone; immunity; miRNA; therapy.

Publication types

  • Review