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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Exercise responsive genes measured in peripheral blood of women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and matched control subjects

Toni Whistler, James F Jones, Elizabeth R Unger and Suzanne D Vernon*

Author Affiliations

Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA

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BMC Physiology 2005, 5:5  doi:10.1186/1472-6793-5-5

Published: 24 March 2005

Abstract

Background

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is defined by debilitating fatigue that is exacerbated by physical or mental exertion. To search for markers of CFS-associated post-exertional fatigue, we measured peripheral blood gene expression profiles of women with CFS and matched controls before and after exercise challenge.

Results

Women with CFS and healthy, age-matched, sedentary controls were exercised on a stationary bicycle at 70% of their predicted maximum workload. Blood was obtained before and after the challenge, total RNA was extracted from mononuclear cells, and signal intensity of the labeled cDNA hybridized to a 3800-gene oligonucleotide microarray was measured. We identified differences in gene expression among and between subject groups before and after exercise challenge and evaluated differences in terms of Gene Ontology categories.

Exercise-responsive genes differed between CFS patients and controls. These were in genes classified in chromatin and nucleosome assembly, cytoplasmic vesicles, membrane transport, and G protein-coupled receptor ontologies. Differences in ion transport and ion channel activity were evident at baseline and were exaggerated after exercise, as evidenced by greater numbers of differentially expressed genes in these molecular functions.

Conclusion

These results highlight the potential use of an exercise challenge combined with microarray gene expression analysis in identifying gene ontologies associated with CFS.