The working group of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, part of the National Institutes of Health, recommended the development of research priorities for ME/CFS to help move the field towards translational research and clinical trials. The result led to creation of the ME/CFS Research Roadmap Working Group. The Group, co-led by Drs. Lucinda Bateman and Maureen Hanson, produced a series of eight webinars. A complete description of the webinar series can be found on the ME/CFS Research Roadmap website.
Our Center’s mission is to promote research to identify its cause(s), biomarkers, and pathophysiology in order to lead to prevention and effective treatments. With this focus, several Center investigators presented data to support the development of research priorities for ME/CFS. The talks from our Center are included below.
Maureen Hanson presented “ Immune cell-type approaches to identify mechanisms of ME/CFS” during the Immune System webinar. Her talk starts at 1:38:40.
Jessica Maya presented “Investigations and Consequences of Altered Metabolism in ME/CFS Immune Cells” during the Metabolism webinar. Her talk starts at 58:32.
Maureen Hanson presented “Chronic infection in ME/CFS: non-Herpes viruses” during the Chronic Infections webinar. Her talk starts at 1:01:25.
Ludovic Giloteaux presented “Extracellular vesicles” during the Physiology webinar. His talk starts at 3:15:10.
NIH held a hybrid online conference on the NIH campus on December 11-12, 2023. Center personnel attending in person were Claire McNally, Annie Gardella, David Iu, Jessica Maya, Tien Luyen (“Louis”) Vu, Katherine Glass, Arnaud Germain, Ludovic Giloteaux, Dawei Li, Andrew Grimson, and Maureen Hanson, as well as collaborator Nicholas Hampilos from Weill Cornell Medicine.
NIH sponsored an early career researchers workshop on December 10, 2023 attended by Cornell graduate students Claire McNally Annie Gardella, and David Iu, postdoctoral associates Jessica Maya and Tien Luyen (“Louis”) Vu, and Research Associates Katherine Glass, Arnaud Germain and Ludovic Giloteaux. Drs. Glass and Maya helped organize the meeting.
David Iu: Epigenetic Reprogramming of CD8+ T cell Populations Drives Exhaustion in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
Tien Luyen Vu: Single-cell transcriptomics of ME/CFS circulating immune system before and after symptom provocation
Anne Gardella: Cell-free RNA signatures of myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome
Ludovic Giloteaux: Extracellular vesicle protein cargo in ME/CFS cases and controls following maximal exercise
Arnaud Germain: Proteomic adjustments following induction of post-exertional malaise
Claire McNally: Investigating the role of iNOS in endothelial dysfunction in ME/CFS
As shown in the graphical abstract above and explained in the video abstract below, we found a large number of metabolites at increased concentrations in the urine of controls 24 hours after CPET compared to baseline. However, we did not find significant changes in levels of any metabolites in the urine of ME/CFS patients after CPET.
When we looked at which metabolites were changing differently in ME/CFS patients and controls after exercise, we found the most compounds in the amino acid and lipid metabolic superpathways.
Overall, our data suggests that the metabolisms of sedentary controls undergo major changes that allow them to recover from exertion, while ME/CFS patients fail to make similar adaptive responses. This dysfunctional metabolic excretion could be contributing to exercise intolerance in ME/CFS patients.
Check out the paper to see many more results, including individual compounds that are significantly different between patients and controls and altered correlations between urine and plasma metabolites.
As discussed in the paper, there is more evidence for abnormal immunometabolism in ME/CFS. Maya utilized her expertise in flow cytometry and Seahorse flux analysis to demonstrate this dysfunction. She isolated natural killer (NK), helper T (CD4), and cytotoxic T (CD8) cell populations from both healthy donors and people with ME/CFS. These immune cell populations were studied in their circulating state and after stimulation. The stimulation process aims to mimic an immune response. Maya’s findings showed that all three of the cell types have an increased use of fats to power their activities when compared to healthy donors. Her results show that ME/CFS immune cells have a greater reliance on fats for energy when they are stimulated. Overall, these findings support the presence of an altered metabolic state in certain immune cells in individuals with ME/CFS.
Maya outlines these findings in her graphical and video abstracts inserted below.
On September 23, 2020, a CDC ME/CFS Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (SEC) call took place, featuring a presentation by Dr. Maureen Hanson, ENID Center Director, on “Immune Dysfunction in ME/CFS”. Dr. Elizabeth Unger, Branch Chief of CDC’s Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, provided CDC programmatic updates. The SEC call transcript, audio, and presentation slides are now available on the CDC’s website. Direct links to specific content, including Hanson’s slideshow presentation, are below.
On November 4-5, 2020, Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine held a COVID-19 Summit to exchange information about research into the disease ongoing at both institutions. Dr. Maureen Hanson presented a “flash” talk with three slides to introduce Cornell COVID-19 researchers to the similarity between long-haul COVID-19 and ME/CFS. Content from Hanson’s talk is below.
At the Swedish RME annual ME/CFS conference on Oct. 14, 2020, Clinical Core Co-Director, Dr. Betsy Keller, presented virtually on post-exertional malaise (PEM). Keller goes into detail on PEM by covering what it is, ways to assess impairment due to PEM, and strategies to minimize PEM. Her full talk “PEM: Strategies for determining and managing the cardinal symptom of ME/CFS” can be viewed below and is also available on YouTube here.
For an English version of Swedish RME’s website visit this link.