Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Post COVID .

Red Blood Cell Deformability in ME / CFS

Red Blood Cell Deformability in ME / CFS


This work has been accepted for publication in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation and also has been accepted as an abstract for the American Society of Hematology 60th Annual Meeting.

  • Mohsen Nemat-Gorgani, PhD

  • Anand Ramasubramanian, PhD

  • Juan Santiago, PhD

  • Eric Shaqfeh, PhD

  • Ronald W. Davis, PhD



Several studies have implicated a role of oxidative stress in ME / CFS. Red blood cells (RBCs) are potent scavengers of oxidative stress and their shape changes appreciably in response to oxidative stress; this has been observed in certain inflammatory conditions including obesity and diabetes.

The shape of RBCs determine how well these cells can move through blood vessels so it seems pertinent to determine if RBCs in ME / CFS patients are affected. This has led to the development of a microfluidic device that mimics blood flow through microcapillaries.


Preliminary studies have shown that RBCs from ME / CFS patients had an altered rate of movement through microcapillaries and that RBCs from ME / CFS patients had reduced deformability.

The significant decrease in deformability of RBCs from ME / CFS patients may have origins in oxidative stress and suggests that altered microvascular perfusion can be a possible cause for ME / CFS symptoms.

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