In a recent study, researchers investigated differences in extracellular vesicles in people with ME/CFS compared to healthy individuals following exercise. Extracellular vesicles, tiny membrane-bound particles released by cells, play a crucial role in transporting various cellular contents, such as proteins, and communication between cells.
The study involved 18 females with ME/CFS and 17 healthy controls who underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET), followed by blood analysis for extracellular vesicles. Participants with ME/CFS showed reduced physiological capacity, meaning a decrease in the body’s ability to handle exertion (as indicated by lower oxygen consumption at certain points during testing).
Additionally, the researchers found differences in extracellular vesicle concentrations and protein content post-exercise in individuals with ME/CFS which were strongly correlated with symptom severity. The results potentially indicate altered signalling by extracellular vesicles and ‘failure to mount an adequate response to exercise at the molecular level.’
Limitations of the study include a small sample size and focus on females. This study adds to an increasing body of research relating to extracellular vesicles in ME/CFS. Further exploration is needed to understand the potential of extracellular vesicles as molecular signatures in ME/CFS.