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Clin Chim Acta. 2005 Oct;360(1-2):173-7.

Plasma and urinary carnitine and acylcarnitines in chronic fatigue syndrome.

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  • 1St. George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London, SW17 0RE, UK.


Contradictory reports have suggested that serum free carnitine and acylcarnitine concentrations are decreased in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and that this is a cause of the muscle fatigue observed in these patients. Others have shown normal serum free carnitine and acylcarnitines in similar patients. We report here studies on free, total and esterified (acyl) carnitines in urine and blood plasma from UK patients with CFS and three control groups. Plasma and timed urine samples were obtained from 31 patients with CFS, 31 healthy controls, 15 patients with depression and 22 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Samples were analysed using an established radioenzymatic procedure for total, free and esterified (acyl) carnitine. There were no significant differences in plasma or urinary total, free or esterified (acyl) carnitine between UK patients with CFS and the control groups or in renal excretion rates of these compounds. The data presented here show that, in the CFS patients studied, there are no significant abnormalities of free or esterified (acyl) carnitine. It is thus unlikely that abnormalities in carnitine homeostasis have any significant role in the aetiology of their chronic fatigue.

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