James Baraniuk and Begona Casado, from Georgetown University in the US, and colleagues from other institutions in the US and Italy, studied the content of the spinal cord fluid, or 'cerebrospinal fluid', in CFS patients and healthy individuals. This fluid can be tested for the diagnosis of various neurological diseases and infections. The researchers identified 16 proteins that can be found in patients with CFS but not in healthy individuals. Five of these proteins are found in all CFS patients but none of the controls. They could be a 'biosignature' for the disease, which could be used to diagnose it.
This is a pilot study, but Baraniuk et al. conclude that "this is the first predictive model of chronic fatigue syndrome to be based only on objective data". They add: "Given the controversy over whether CFS and its allied syndromes are legitimate medical conditions, our model provides initial objective evidence for the legitimacy of CSF as a distinct neurological disease."
Many of the proteins found in CFS patients are involved in protein folding and in various neurological syndromes, which might give clues regarding the origin of chronic fatigue syndrome.
A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Related Proteome in Human Cerebrospinal Fluid
James N Baraniuk, Begona Casado, Hilda Maibach, Daniel J Clauw, Lewis K Pannell and Sonja Hess
BMC Neurology 2005 5:23 (2 December 2005)