MtDNA population variation in Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome in two populations: a study of mildly deleterious variants
Van der Westhuizen, Francois H.
Elson, Joanna L.
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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating condition. There is growing interest in a possible etiologic or pathogenic role of mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in ME/CFS. Supporting such a link, fatigue is common and often severe in patients with mitochondrial disease. We investigate the role of mtDNA variation in ME/CFS. No proven pathogenic mtDNA mutations were found. We then investigated population variation. Two cohorts were analysed, one from the UK (n = 89 moderately affected; 29 severely affected) and the other from South Africa (n = 143 moderately affected). For both cohorts, ME/CFS patients had an excess of individuals without a mildly deleterious population variant. The differences in population variation might reflect a mechanism important to the pathophysiology of ME/CFS