DOE User Facility Enables Scientist to Distinguish Chronic Fatigue and Lyme Disease Patients


Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and those who have not completely recovered from Lyme disease often exhibit similar symptoms, making it difficult to clinically distinguish between these two diseases. A new study by an international team of scientists using the proteomics capabilities at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), a DOE scientific user facility, has found biomarkers that can be used to distinguish these two types of patients. Scientists from New Jersey Medical School, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Uppsala University in Sweden, SUNY-Stony Brook, Columbia University, and Albert Einstein School of Medicine examined proteins in the spinal fluid from healthy patients, CFS patients, and former Lyme disease patients, and could easily distinguish among them. More than 700 proteins were found to be unique to the spinal fluid of CFS patients compared to healthy volunteers, and almost 700 other proteins were found to be unique to the spinal fluid of patients who had not completely recovered from Lyme disease. This research strongly suggests that spinal fluid proteins can be used as biomarkers of specific disease, and provides a starting point for future research into CFS causes and treatments. Funding for this research was provided by several institutes within the National Institutes of Health, Swedish Research Council, Lyme Disease Association, and Tami Fund.

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Schutzer, S. E., T. E. Angel, T. Liu, A. A. Schepmoes, T. R. Clauss, J. N. Adkins, D. G. Camp II, B. K. Holland, J. Bergquist, P. K. Coyle, R. D. Smith, B. A. Fallon, and B. H. Natelson. 2011. “Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post-Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” PLoS ONE 6, e17287. DOI: 10/1371/journal.pone.0017287.