Absence of XMRV retrovirus and other murine leukemia virus-related viruses in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Clifford H. Shin, Lucinda Bateman, Robert Schlaberg, Ashley M. Bunker, Christopher J. Leonard, Ronald W. Hughen, Alan R. Light, Kathleen C. Light, Ila R. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a multisystem disorder characterized by prolonged and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest. Attempts to treat CFS have been largely ineffective primarily because the etiology of the disorder is unknown. Recently, CFS has been associated with xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) as well as other murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related viruses, though not all studies have found these associations. We collected blood samples from 100 CFS patients and 200 self-reported healthy volunteers from the same geographical area. We analyzed these in a blind manner using molecular, serological, and viral replication assays. We also analyzed samples from patients in the original study that reported XMRV in CFS patients. We did not find XMRV or related MLVs either as viral sequences or infectious viruses, nor did we find antibodies to these viruses in any of the patient samples, including those from the original study. We show that at least some of the discrepancy with previous studies is due to the presence of trace amounts of mouse DNA in the Taq polymerase enzymes used in these previous studies. Our findings do not support an association between CFS and MLV-related viruses, including XMRV, and the off-label use of antiretrovirals for the treatment of CFS does not seem justified at present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7195-7202
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume85
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

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