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PeerJ. 2018 Jan 22;6:e4282. doi: 10.7717/peerj.4282. eCollection 2018.

Eukaryotes in the gut microbiota in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States of America.
Department of Exercise & Sport Sciences, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, United States of America.


Patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) often suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms and many are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Previous studies, including from our laboratory, have demonstrated that the ME/CFS gut bacterial composition is altered and less diverse when compared to healthy individuals. Patients have increased biomarkers of inflammation and leaky gut syndrome. To further investigate dysbiosis in the ME/CFS gut microbiome, we sought to characterize the eukaryotes present in the gut of 49 individuals with ME/CFS and 39 healthy controls. Using 18S rRNA sequencing, we have identified eukaryotes in stool samples of 17 healthy individuals and 17 ME/CFS patients. Our analysis demonstrates a small, nonsignificant decrease in eukaryotic diversity in ME/CFS patients compared to healthy individuals. In addition, ME/CFS patients show a nonsignificant increase in the ratio of fungal phyla Basidiomycota to Ascomycota, which is consistent with ongoing inflammation in ME/CFS. We did not identify specific eukaryotic taxa that are associated with ME/CFS disease status.


18S; Diversity; Eukaryotic; Fecal; Fungi; Gastrointestinal; Inflammation; ME/CFS; Microbiome; Sequencing

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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