Chronic fatigue and postcoid syndrome – what do they have in common?

In the biological basis of chronic fatigue syndrome and long-term covid (post-covid syndrome), American scientists have found much in common and identified the cause of this condition.

The research results are published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, RIA Novosti tells about them. First, you should familiarize yourself with the symptoms of these two conditions.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis) affects up to 2.5 million people in the United States alone. This is a serious disease of the central nervous system with characteristic symptoms – debilitating fatigue, difficulty thinking, sleep disturbances, and various anomalies of the autonomic nervous system that does not disappear even after a long rest. These manifestations can be mild or pronounced and, as a rule, exacerbate after mental or physical exertion.

Patients describe the manifestations of postcoid syndrome in about the same way: for many weeks and months they have sleep disorders and excessive fatigue, memory problems, inability to concentrate, shortness of breath, and sleep problems. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have suggested that both conditions have the same cause – this is how the body reacts to stress associated either with external influences or with the consequences of infection. Bindu Paul, Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and lead author of the study, notes:

“The response to infection or injury is complex and involves all systems in the body. Any failure can cause fatigue, brain fog, pain and other symptoms.”

In both conditions, the dominant role of oxygen molecules accumulated in cells is noted. A process called oxidative stress results in a redox imbalance at the cellular level, which is associated with inflammation and metabolic disorders. The latter is observed both in the post-clotting syndrome and in chronic fatigue.

The authors meticulously studied the relationship between redox imbalance, other human responses to stress – inflammation, metabolic energy deficit and hypometabolic state – and the manifestations of the syndromes of both conditions. By the way, Paul’s team previously recorded oxidative stress in Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Anthony Komarov, one of the researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, says:

“We do not yet know how many COVID-19 patients will have long-term symptoms, but it is estimated that there are at least 7%.”

Scientists are continuing their research into the molecular mechanisms of diseases, which are characterized by oxidative stress, metabolic disorders and inflammation, and are ready for new discoveries.

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