This project aims to test the nitrogen hypothesis, which is that damaging, nitrogen-containing by-products of energy metabolism accumulate more readily in the cells of ME/CFS patients.
ME/CFS is diagnosed by its symptoms, which include post-exertional malaise, fatigue, and brain fog. It is unclear how these symptoms arise, and there are likely multiple routes to arrive at this chronic pathological state. However, there is a fundamental defect in energy metabolism in ME/CFS, which may be a common underlying cause of its symptoms.
We have hypothesized that reactive nitrogen by-products are accumulating in the cells of ME/CFS patients as a result of using amino acids for energy production in the mitochondria.To test this hypothesis, we will culture blood-based immune cells and feed them with labelled sugar, fats and amino acids. As the cells use the labelled sugar, fatand amino acids for energy production we will be able to monitor how their metabolism differs from healthy controls.
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