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Genetic Risk Factors of ME/CFS: A Critical Review. Joshua J Dibble, Simon J McGrath, Chris P Ponting. 2020

Discussion in 'ME/CFS research' started by John Mac, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    strategist, Simone, Philipp and 37 others like this.
  2. Jaybee00

    Jaybee00 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Congrats Simon!
  3. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK
    Is this an error, on p.6?

    "Despite GWAS being expensive, sales of medications that have benefitted from this method
    already exceed its costs (32), and these are declining rapidly."

    Is it the costs that are declining?
    FMMM1, alktipping, Kitty and 4 others like this.
  4. Simon M

    Simon M Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Thanks! Full credit to the first author Joshua Dibble, Chris Ponting's PhD student, who is funded by Action for ME and Scotland's Chief Scientist Office, and to @Chris Ponting himself.
    Yes- perhaps it should say, "and these costs are declining".

    The concluding section might be worth sharing:

    Expected outcomes of a ME/CFS GWAS

    GWAS are proposed to have “substantially improved our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for many rare and common diseases and driven development of novel preventative and therapeutic strategies” (53). This suggests that large GWAS on ME/CFS are overdue. Replicated results from such studies would have four important implications.

    Firstly, it would catalyse the gain of much-needed insight into genes, cellular processes and tissues or cell types that causally alter risk for ME/CFS. When combined with functional genomics and other technologies (53), a well-designed GWAS can pinpoint multiple chromosomal locations containing DNA variants that change the activity of genes – in specific cells or tissues – that thereby alter a person‟s risk of ME/CFS. If these genes are known to have an activity in common – such as a mitochondrial or neurological or immunological function – then this common feature prioritises cellular processes and molecular mechanisms that could be causally involved in disease. Framing such causal hypotheses has been aided considerably by the knowledgebase of gene function, including activity levels, molecular mechanism and cellular function, which have been growing substantially and rapidly over recent years as a result of novel and higher throughput technologies.

    Secondly, a GWAS would enable detection of genetic signals that ME/CFS shares with other diseases or traits. Methods (e.g. (57)) that compare GWAS summary statistics for ME/CFS and other traits are available to calculate the genetic correlations between them. Genetic signals for ME/CFS could be shared with other diseases just as autoimmune diseases (for example, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and autoimmune thyroid disease) share such signals and underlying mechanisms of disease (58).

    Thirdly, a GWAS could aid stratification of ME/CFS sub-types. Despite their well-defined clinical diagnoses, complex diseases such as type 2 diabetes are caused by diverse molecular and cellular mechanisms (59) and this should also be expected of ME/CFS. Its underlying biological sub-types could eventually be detectable using methods that test for genetic effect heterogeneity (60).

    Lastly, discovery of genetic factors for ME/CFS risk might be expected to improve how this disorder is perceived by health professionals and by society at large.

    Future perspective

    Genetics studies are the best way to understand the aetiology of ME/CFS, due to the causal nature of genetic associations. A large GWAS focused on discovering the biomolecular mechanisms of ME/CFS is urgently needed because no study on the genetics of ME/CFS yet has seen results repeated under replication. For an appropriately powered GWAS, at least 104 participants are required, and an equal or greater number of controls. A strict p < 5x10-8 or 1x10-8 statistical significance threshold must also be applied to reduce the numerous false positive associations seen from the meta-analyses presented here.

    Although recruiting thousands of people with ME/CFS – particularly severely affected individuals who are house- or bed-bound – is a challenging task, it will be essential to perform a GWAS using their samples if we are to understand the mechanisms of the disease. With case criteria refined using genetic findings it may then be possible to begin stratifying the disease into distinct sub-types each with a different causal mechanism and potentially a specific treatment.
    ahimsa, Philipp, Grigor and 21 others like this.
  5. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    The one ornitine transporter gene identified seems interesting. It's related to the urea cycle, which other studies have found to be abnormal (I can't recall the details, I think at least one metabolomics study reported this). The urea cycle removes toxic ammonia from the body.

    How many would describe the effects of overexertion as resembling some sort of poisoning?

    Ammonia also affects the brain in particular.

    Ammonia is formed when proteins are broke down. Again I recall that some studies reported that energy metabolism in ME/CFS was changed to rely more on amino acids as fuel source. One study by McGregor reported that PEM is associated with hypermetabolism, ie. the body is working hard.

    What might be happening here is that the body is trying to compensate for some problem by using more amino acids for energy but runs into problems because ammonia is removed less efficiently from the body.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2020
    Hutan, Philipp, J.G and 21 others like this.
  6. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    It's ambiguous. In speech the right intonation would get it across, but when written it's not so clear.
    Kitty and Caesar like this.
  7. Chris Ponting

    Chris Ponting Established Member (Voting Rights)

    Simone, Philipp, Joh and 23 others like this.
  8. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK
    Your numbers have got a bit skewed, @Simon M - it should be 10 to the power of 4 rather than 104. There are probably some other examples.
    Kitty, Dolphin and alktipping like this.
  9. spinoza577

    spinoza577 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Another possibility is a more indirect effect.

    As removing ammonia is of utmost importance, I guess it would be tried to compensate, say by higher frequency by which transporters or ornithine molecules can get matched.

    The arginase produces the ornithine (from arginine), so a higher activity of this enzyme may be a compensation for less transporters available.

    The argininase is manganese dependent, so blood levels of manganese would be higher. I think, this could be an important factor.

    EDIT: This atom is used surprisingly little, but in tasks which may be associated with wound healing (applying some longer associations, sometimes). There is a preview: Innate Immune Cells speak Mn. Its effects on and usage in the nervous system is interesting.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
    FMMM1, Kitty, andypants and 3 others like this.
  10. FMMM1

    FMMM1 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Not sure what I'm trying to say here --- could be that a higher incidence of people with ornithine transporter gene variant confirms the switch in metabolism to using amino acids --- Chris Armstrong, Fluge and Mella --- have all suggested a switch to using amino acids for energy production.
    ukxmrv, Amw66, sebaaa and 1 other person like this.
  11. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

    Hampshire, UK

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