Virus May Be Associated With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Murine leukemia virus gene sequences found in chronic fatigue syndrome patients

TUESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found evidence of the murine leukemia virus (MLV) in a group of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); their findings were published online Aug. 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Shyh-Ching Lo, M.D., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues examined DNA samples from 37 CFS patients and 44 healthy controls to look for MLV gene sequences. Although a prior study had identified xenotropic MLV-related virus DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from CFS patients, subsequent studies did not detect MLV-related virus gene sequences in patients with CFS.

The researchers found MLV-like virus gag gene sequences in 32 (86.5 percent) of the patients and in three (6.8 percent) of the control subjects. In a sample obtained almost 15 years later, seven of eight gag-positive patients again tested positive. Also, unlike prior reports of near-genetic identity in all xenotropic MLV-related viruses, they found a group of genetically diverse MLV-related viruses.

"Further studies are needed to determine whether the same strong association with MLV-related viruses is found in other groups of patients with CFS, whether these viruses play a causative role in the development of CFS, and whether they represent a threat to the blood supply," the authors write.

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