“Biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction and signaling in ME/CFS”
PI: Jonas Blomberg, MD, PhD, Anders Rosén, MD, PhD
Uppsala University and Linköping University, Sweden

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“Biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction and signaling in ME/CFS”
PI: Jonas Blomberg, MD, PhD, Anders Rosén, MD, PhD
Uppsala University and Linköping University, Sweden


Dr. Jonas Blomberg set up a collaborative effort with Dr. Anders Rosén (Linköping University, Sweden) to study mitochondrial dysfunction and pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) signaling. PDH is a complex of enzymes that functions as link in oxidative metabolism and previous studies showed evidence that dysregulation of PDH contributes to the development of ME/CFS. This pilot funding is furthering exploration of the hypothesis published in Frontiers in Immunology by Drs. Blomberg and Rosén. The researchers put forth a disease model in which an infection initiates an autoreactive process, impacting several systems, including brain and energy metabolism. Carl-Gerhard Gottfries (MD, PhD), and Olof Zachrisson (MD, PhD), bring extensive clinical expertise of ME/CFS, enhancing the translational research goals of the study. Read coverage from Cort Johnson’s Health Rising blog here

Dr. Jonas Blomberg, a leading virologist in Sweden deeply involved in moving ME/CFS research forward, passed away in February 2019. His many valuable contributions to the field were amplified by his collaborative, interdisciplinary approach and a passionate dedication to people with ME/CFS.

A prolific researcher, Dr. Blomberg devoted much of his career to the study and characterization of human retroviruses using bioinformatic approaches. He developed powerful multiplex methods to study pathogens and applied this methodology to the study of ME/CFS. He was twice funded through SMCI’s Ramsay Award Program to examine infectious triggers, autoimmunity, metabolic abnormalities and biomarkers of mitochondrial dysfunction and signaling in ME/CFS.

The scope of his involvement went far beyond the research bench. He served on the Board of Directors of the Gottfries Clinic in Sweden and as an advisor to the Open Medicine Foundation. Dr. Blomberg was also a member of the Biomarkers Working Group of EUROMENE, a European organization that seeks to increase collaboration and funding for ME/CFS research in Europe.

Read the research team’s study abstract below:

Our working hypothesis of ME/CFS pathogenesis is that a person predisposed for ME is provoked to react with the major energy metabolic organelle, the mitochondria. We want to explore why after an infection, a major energy metabolic change takes place, creating a severe restriction in daily life and causing a profound lack of energy, affecting both muscular and mental (cognitive) functions. We will investigate the presence of antibodies in ME to mitochondrial proteins, especially the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. We will also utilize our recently published reports of an innate immune mechanism which releases mtDNA into extracellular space when stimulated by certain DNA structures, and a hypothetical explanation for pathogenesis of ME.

We are fortunate to collaborate with the most experienced ME/CFS clinic in Sweden, the Gottfries clinic, in Mölndal. Prof. Carl-Gerhard Gottfries and Dr. Olov Zachrisson provided us with a collection of 198 blood samples from anonymous ME/CFS patients and controls. Their extensive clinical experience of ME/CFS is a guarantee for the clinical relevance of our research. Appropriate ethical permissions are at hand. The ME/CFS patients were diagnosed using the stringent Canadian criteria.

The laboratories of Anders Rosén in Linköping and Jonas Blomberg in Uppsala are uniquely suited for a collaborative effort to better understand involvement of mitochondria in the immunopathogenesis of ME/CFS, and to develop biomarkers for the disease.

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