The level of bioactive transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) was measured in serum from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), healthy control subjects, and patients with major depression, systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE), and multiple sclerosis (MS) of both the relapsing/remitting (R/R) and the chronic progressive (CP) types. Patients with CFS had significantly higher levels of bioactive TGF-beta levels compared to the healthy control major depression, SLE, R/R MS, and CP MS groups (P < 0.01). Additionally, no significant differences were found between the healthy control subjects and any of the disease comparison groups. The current finding that TGF-beta is significantly elevated among patients with CFS supports the findings of two previous studies examining smaller numbers of CFS patients. In conclusion, TGF-beta levels were significantly higher in CFS patients compared to patients with various diseases known to be associated with immunologic abnormalities and/or pathologic fatigue. These findings raise interesting questions about the possible role of TGF-beta in the pathogenesis of CFS.