Radiation exposure and mitochondrial insufficiency in chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome
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Chronic fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) is a heterogeneous disease that may be promoted by various environmental stressors, including viral infection, toxin uptake, and ionizing radiation exposure. Previous studies have identified mitochondrial dysfunction in CFIDS patients, including modulation of mitochondrial respiratory chain activity, deletions in the mitochondrial genome, and upregulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This paper focuses on radiation effects and hypothesizes that CFIDS is primarily caused by stressor-induced mitochondrial metabolic insufficiency, which results in decreased energy production and anabolic metabolites required for normal cellular metabolism. Furthermore, tissues neighbouring or distant from directly perturbed tissues compensate for this dysfunction, which causes symptoms associated with CFIDS. This hypothesis is justified by reviewing the links between radiation exposure and CFIDS, cancer, immune dysfunction, and induction of oxidative stress. Moreover, the relevance of mitochondria in cellular responses to radiation and metabolism are discussed and putative mitochondrial biomarkers for CFIDS are introduced. Implications for diagnosis are then described, including a potential urine assay and PCR test for mitochondrial genome mutations. Finally, future research needs are offered with an emphasis on where rapid progress may be made to assist the afflicted.
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