The Genetics and Epigenetics of Fatigue

Department of Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital Radiumhospitalet, Oslo, Montebello, Norway.
PM&R (Impact Factor: 1.53). 05/2010; 2(5):456-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.04.003
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Fatigue is a common symptom and includes both physical and mental components. It can be associated with a variety of different syndromes and diseases, but in many cases is not associated with other comorbid conditions. Most humans have experienced acute fatigue in relation to different stressors. Acute fatigue typically decreases as the effect of the triggering factor is reduced and a normal homeostatic balance is restored. Fatigue that persists for 6 months or more is termed chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue (CF) in combination with a minimum of 4 of 8 symptoms and the absence of diseases that could explain these symptoms, constitute the case definition for chronic fatigue syndrome. In spite of its prevalence, the biology of fatigue is relatively poorly understood and biological markers have not yet been identified. This literature search was performed in PubMed to identify research on the genetics and epigenetics of fatigue. Publications were included if fatigue was a major topic and the topic was combined with genetic and/or epigenetic measurements in adult humans. A total of 40 publications were identified. Although altered functioning in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the serotonergic system, and associations with infectious agents have been identified, the search for genetic or epigenetic markers of fatigue, either in the context of CF or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been relatively unproductive or, in the case of epigenetics, nonexistent. Although several studies, both hypothesis-testing and hypothesis-generating, have been performed to search for biomarkers, they have mostly been underpowered, restricted by the heterogeneity of the phenotype, or limited by an unsystematic study design. To be able to confirm the hypothesis that risk for, or levels of, fatigue are influenced by the genetic or epigenetic background of an individual, studies need to be based on larger sample sizes with a more clearly defined phenotype. Studies need to focus not only on the influence of a single aspect such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or differential gene expression on disease risk or state, but also on the systems biology behind the disease in combination with information on environmental influences and validation of findings in functional studies.

Download full-text


Available from: Hege Edvardsen, Sep 28, 2015
30 Reads
  • Source
    • "Polymorphisms that impact gene function, either directly or interaction through other risk factors, may contribute to genetic susceptibility for CFS. Only a small number of polymorphisms in a few genes involved in immune and inflammatory response have been studied [23] [24] [25]. The Affymetrix Human Immune and Inflammation Chip was developed to facilitate a systematic genetic evaluation of immune and inflammation pathways [26]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent evidence suggests immune and inflammatory alterations are important in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This study was done to explore the association of functionally important genetic variants in inflammation and immune pathways with CFS. Peripheral blood DNA was isolated from 50 CFS and 121 non-fatigued (NF) control participants in a population-based study. Genotyping was performed with the Affymetrix Immune and Inflammation Chip that covers 11K single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) following the manufacturer's protocol. Genotyping accuracy for specific genes was validated by pyrosequencing. Golden Helix SVS software was used for genetic analysis. SNP functional annotation was done using SPOT and GenomePipe programs. CFS was associated with 32 functionally important SNPs: 11 missense variants, 4 synonymous variants, 11 untranslated regulatory region (UTR) variants and 6 intronic variants. Some of these SNPs were in genes within pathways related to complement cascade (SERPINA5, CFB, CFH, MASP1 and C6), chemokines (CXCL16, CCR4, CCL27), cytokine signaling (IL18, IL17B, IL2RB), and toll-like receptor signaling (TIRAP, IRAK4). Of particular interest is association of CFS with two missense variants in genes of complement activation, rs4151667 (L9H) in CFB and rs1061170 (Y402H) in CFH. A 5'UTR polymorphism (rs11214105) in IL18 also associated with physical fatigue, body pain and score for CFS case defining symptoms. This study identified new associations of CFS with genetic variants in pathways including complement activation providing additional support for altered innate immune response in CFS. Additional studies are needed to validate the findings of this exploratory study. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Human immunology 06/2015; 77. DOI:10.1016/j.humimm.2015.06.014 · 2.14 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Epigenetic modulation refers to chemical modifications of DNA including DNA methylation that produce long-term changes in gene expression. These changes can have long-lasting biological consequences and could become maladaptive, leading to chronic diseases such as obesity [27], fatigue [28] or neurological and mental disorders [19,29]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The extracellular matrix protein SPARC (Secreted Protein, Acidic, Rich in Cysteine) has been linked to degeneration of the intervertebral discs and chronic low back pain (LBP). In humans, SPARC protein expression is decreased as a function of age and disc degeneration. In mice, inactivation of the SPARC gene results in the development of accelerated age-dependent disc degeneration concurrent with age-dependent behavioral signs of chronic LBP.DNA methylation is the covalent modification of DNA by addition of methyl moieties to cytosines in DNA. DNA methylation plays an important role in programming of gene expression, including in the dynamic regulation of changes in gene expression in response to aging and environmental signals. We tested the hypothesis that DNA methylation down-regulates SPARC expression in chronic LBP in pre-clinical models and in patients with chronic LBP. Our data shows that aging mice develop anatomical and behavioral signs of disc degeneration and back pain, decreased SPARC expression and increased methylation of the SPARC promoter. In parallel, we show that human subjects with back pain exhibit signs of disc degeneration and increased methylation of the SPARC promoter. Methylation of either the human or mouse SPARC promoter silences its activity in transient transfection assays. This study provides the first evidence that DNA methylation of a single gene plays a role in chronic pain in humans and animal models. This has important implications for understanding the mechanisms involved in chronic pain and for pain therapy.
    Molecular Pain 08/2011; 7(1):65. DOI:10.1186/1744-8069-7-65 · 3.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Underlying problems of inconsistent findings in research studies have been identified [39, 40] and include a need for studies to be based on larger sample sizes with a more clearly defined phenotype, in particular one that recognizes the likely existence of significant subgroups within the patient population. In a study of the Reeves empirical criteria [16], Jason et al. [18] reported that 38% of patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder were misclassified as having CFS and only 10% of patients identified as having CFS actually had ME. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Carruthers BM, van de Sande MI, De Meirleir KL, Klimas NG, Broderick G, Mitchell T, Staines D, Powles ACP, Speight N, Vallings R, Bateman L, Baumgarten-Austrheim B, Bell DS, Carlo-Stella N, Chia J, Darragh A, Jo D, Lewis D, Light AR, Marshall-Gradisbik S, Mena I, Mikovits JA, Murovska M, Pall ML, Stevens S (Independent, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Independent, Calgary, AB, Canada; Department of Physiology and Medicine, Vrije University of Brussels, Himmunitas Foundation, Brussels, Belgium; Department of Medicine,University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA; Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; Honorary Consultant for NHS at Peterborough/Cambridge, Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK; Gold Coast Public Health Unit, Southport, Queensland; Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia; Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University and St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton, ON, Canada; Independent, Durham, UK; Howick Health and Medical Centre, Howick, New Zealand; Fatigue Consultation Clinic, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center; Internal Medicine, Family Practice, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA; ME/CFS Center, Oslo University Hospital HF, Norway; Department of Paediatrics, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY; Independent, Pavia, Italy; Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; EV Med Research, Lomita, CA, USA; University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; Pain Clinic, Konyang University Hospital, Daejeon, Korea; Donvale Specialist Medical Centre, Donvale, Victoria, Australia; Departments or Anesthesiology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Robina, Queensland, Australia; Department of Medicina Nuclear, Clinica Las Condes, Santiago, Chile; Whittemore Peterson Institute, University of Nevada, Reno, NV, USA; Miwa Naika Clinic, Toyama, Japan; A. Kirchenstein Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia; Department of Biochemistry & Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University, Portland, OR; Department of Sports Sciences, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA USA). Myalgic encephalomyelitis: International Consensus Criteria (Review). J Intern Med 2011; 270: 327–338. The label ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ (CFS) has persisted for many years because of the lack of knowledge of the aetiological agents and the disease process. In view of more recent research and clinical experience that strongly point to widespread inflammation and multisystemic neuropathology, it is more appropriate and correct to use the term ‘myalgic encephalomyelitis’ (ME) because it indicates an underlying pathophysiology. It is also consistent with the neurological classification of ME in the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD G93.3). Consequently, an International Consensus Panel consisting of clinicians, researchers, teaching faculty and an independent patient advocate was formed with the purpose of developing criteria based on current knowledge. Thirteen countries and a wide range of specialties were represented. Collectively, members have approximately 400 years of both clinical and teaching experience, authored hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, diagnosed or treated approximately 50 000 patients with ME, and several members coauthored previous criteria. The expertise and experience of the panel members as well as PubMed and other medical sources were utilized in a progression of suggestions/drafts/reviews/revisions. The authors, free of any sponsoring organization, achieved 100% consensus through a Delphi-type process. The scope of this paper is limited to criteria of ME and their application. Accordingly, the criteria reflect the complex symptomatology. Operational notes enhance clarity and specificity by providing guidance in the expression and interpretation of symptoms. Clinical and research application guidelines promote optimal recognition of ME by primary physicians and other healthcare providers, improve the consistency of diagnoses in adult and paediatric patients internationally and facilitate clearer identification of patients for research studies.
    Journal of Internal Medicine 07/2011; 270(4):327-38. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x · 6.06 Impact Factor
Show more