ME/CFS is a heterogeneous, debilitating and controversial disorder with many uncertainties regarding both etiology and delimitation towards other syndrome diagnoses. ME/CFS is often reported to be preceded by infections or a major physiological or psychological trauma. We hypothesize a model, where an initial (inflammatory) event triggers an abnormal and chronic immune response in susceptible individuals, which affect mitochondria in target organs and lead to systemic metabolic dysregulation, cellular energy deficiency and disabling fatigue upon even mild stress stimuli. To support the hypothesis, we study ME/CFS and other post-inflammatory fatigue syndromes with more uniform disease triggers; post-HPV, post-COVID-19 and post-concussion syndromes.
EXAMPLES OF PROJECTS
Bioenergetic and proteomic profiling of immune cells
We perform comprehensive cellular assessment using mitochondrial bioenergetics (extracellular flux analysis) and protein profiles (quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics) together with self-reported symptom measures in patients with post-viral ME/CFS, post-HPV fatigue syndrome and in a RCT of CoQ10 treatment in post-COVID-19 fatigue syndrome (“long COVID”).
We study biomarkers of cellular senescence (telomere length, mitochondrial DNA copy number, oxidative stress) in peripheral immune cells as a measure of immune cell exhaustion in females reporting development of ME/CFS-like symptoms after exposure to HPV vaccination.
Autoimmunity against neuroendocrine receptors
We study autoantibodies directed at neuroendocrine receptors in the autonomic nervous system and relate them to self-reported symptoms scores of fatigue and autonomic dysfunction in females reporting development of ME/CFS-like symptoms after exposure to HPV vaccination.
Whole exome sequencing (WES) analysis
We perform WES analysis in patients fulfilling the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS, and with a complex history of neuromuscular symptoms since childhood.
The kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism links immune system activation with neurotransmitter signaling, muscular bioenergetics and fatigue. We measure kynurenine metabolites and inflammatory markers in blood and relate them to self-reported symptoms scores of post-concussion or post-COVID-19 fatigue syndromes.
These and other projects are open for collaboration or student projects. Contact Associate Professor Rikke Katrine Jentoft Olsen, MSc, PhD (email@example.com).