Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Comprehensive study finds no link between XMRV retrovirus and chronic fatigue syndrome

Research may settle controversial findings from 2009 study

New findings from University of Utah School of Medicine researchers show that the retrovirus called XMRV is not present in the blood of patients who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). These findings contradict a widely reported 2009 Science study that linked CFS to XMRV.

The study, performed by a team of U of U researchers led by Ila R Singh, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, was published May 4, 2011, in the Journal of Virology online, and is the most comprehensive to date regarding the purported link between chronic fatigue syndrome and XMRV.

The 2009 study linking CFS and XMRV led some CFS patients to take antiretroviral agents in hope of alleviating the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, a debilitating condition of unknown cause. But in light of her new findings, Singh believes the off-label use of antiretrovirals by CFS patients is not appropriate and potentially dangerous.

... more about:
»CFS »DNA »DNA sequence »Lake Baikal »SALT »XMRV »blood sample

"Our investigation found no trace of XMRV in any of the blood samples taken from patients we obtained ourselves, or from patients previously tested in the 2009 Science study," Singh said. "Because of our findings, we believe chronic fatigue syndrome patients should reconsider the merit of taking antiretroviral agents to alleviate their symptoms."

CFS is a devastating disorder characterized by overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and may be exacerbated by physical or mental activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It affects millions of people in the United States and worldwide. XMRV (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), which was first described in 2006, is a retrovirus. Other retroviruses are known to cause AIDS in humans, and many kinds of cancer in animals.

In 2009, a researcher at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., published a study that found XMRV in the blood of 68 percent of CFS patients she sampled. That study, which engendered much controversy, was followed by another one performed by National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration researchers that also detected DNA sequences related to XMRV in CFS patients. Since then, however, several other studies in Europe and China found no trace of the retrovirus in CFS samples.

Singh and her colleagues in the U of U departments of anesthesiology and pathology, and ARUP Laboratories analyzed blood samples from 100 CFS patients and 200 healthy controls from the greater Salt Lake City area using molecular, serological, and viral growth assays, including assays used by researchers who previously found XMRV or XMRV-related viruses in CFS patients. CFS patients for the study were provided by the Fatigue Consultation Clinic, headed by Lucinda Bateman, M.D., in Salt Lake City.

In addition, Singh also analyzed samples from individuals from the 2009 study linking XMRV and CFS. Those samples were obtained by a third-party phlebotomy service that collected blood in home visits, de-identified the samples, and sent them to the Singh lab. Thus, the samples were not opened in any other research lab where XMRV might be present, minimizing chances of contamination. All samples were analyzed in a blinded manner.

Singh's study is more comprehensive and differs from other studies in a number of significant ways:

It comprises a larger set of patients who fall under well-recognized criteria for CFS

Patients and controls were from the same geographical area, which was not true for either of the previous studies that showed a correlation between XMRV and CFS

They analyzed blood samples using multiple, well-defined, sensitive and specific methods, including methods used in the original study

Unlike many other studies, Singh and her colleagues used blinded methods to evaluate samples

Singh's study tested blood samples obtained from individuals tested in the original 2009 study

XMRV is closely related to many mouse retroviruses, and contamination of blood samples or testing reagents with mouse DNA could result in a false-positive test for XMRV. Singh and her colleagues found that some of the positives obtained in other CFS-XMRV studies could be due to the presence of mouse DNA in a reagent used in testing; other positives could be attributed to carry-over of XMRV from positive controls to other samples.

In her own study, Singh initially obtained false positives for XMRV in blood samples. But she determined those false readings were related to robotic equipment that previously had been used for extraction of DNA from XMRV-infected tissue culture cells. Several months later, this equipment led to new samples getting contaminated. When the robotic equipment was abandoned, no more false positives were detected in either CFS patients or healthy patients. "It's easy to see how sample extraction and tissue culture processes might be vulnerable to contamination," Singh said.

Although she found no evidence for XMRV or any related virus in either her study samples or those tested at the Whittemore Peterson Institute, Singh says there is much data to encourage further research into whether other infectious agents are associated with CFS.

"These research efforts must continue," she says. "Chronic fatigue syndrome is a devastating disease for which a cure needs to be found."

Phil Sahm | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: CFS DNA DNA sequence Lake Baikal SALT XMRV blood sample

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>