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Reduced Microbiome Diversity in Myalgic Encephalopathy/CFS

Increase in species described as pro-inflammatory, decrease in those identified as anti-inflammatory

FRIDAY, July 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) have reduced diversity and altered composition of the gut microbiome, according to a study published online June 23 in Microbiome.

Ludovic Giloteaux, Ph.D., from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and colleagues profiled gut microbial diversity by sequencing 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) genes from stool and inflammatory markers from serum in 48 ME/CFS cases and 39 controls. Levels of C-reactive protein, intestinal fatty acid-binding protein, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), LPS-binding protein (LBP), and soluble CD14 (sCD14) in the blood were examined.

The researchers found that levels of LPS, LBP, and sCD14 were elevated in ME/CFS patients. Differences were identified between the gut microbiomes of ME/CFS individuals and controls based on deep sequencing of bacterial rRNA markers. Bacterial diversity was reduced in cases, with a decrease in the relative abundance and diversity of Firmicutes species. Less diversity was seen in the patient cohort, as were increases and decreases in specific species often described as pro- and anti-inflammatory, respectively. Individuals were correctly classified as ME/CFS using a machine learning approach trained on the data obtained from 16S rRNA and inflammatory markers, with 82.93 percent cross-validation accuracy.

“Our results indicate dysbiosis of the gut microbiota in this disease and further suggest an increased incidence of microbial translocation, which may play a role in inflammatory symptoms in ME/CFS,” the authors write.

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