In an article published in the journal BanasMaryland researchers report that they have identified a protein called WASF3 that is said to have abnormally high levels in the muscles of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, now called myalgic encephalomyelitis.
In large amounts, this protein may harm the functioning of mitochondria, the structures that produce the energy needed for cell functioning. This could explain some of the symptoms reported by people with the disease, such as extreme fatigue and a sense of brain fog.
According to the study authors, an increase in WASF3 levels can occur if the endoplasmic reticulum — a cellular structure involved in protein production — is stressed, as happens during a virus infection. Often the disease occurs after a viral infection.
This discovery could also be relevant for long-term treatment of coronavirus, adds one of the experts quoted in the review science. In fact, the two diseases have very similar symptoms.