Increased ventricular lactate in chronic fatigue syndrome measured by 1H MRS imaging at 3.0 T. II: Comparison with major depressive disorder

James W. Murrough, Xiangling Mao, Katherine A. Collins, Chris Kelly, Gizely Andrade, Paul Nestadt, Susan M. Levine, Sanjay J. Mathew, Dikoma C. Shungu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a complex illness characterized by fatigue, impaired concentration, and musculoskeletal pain, is often misdiagnosed as a psychiatric illness due to the overlap of its symptoms with mood and anxiety disorders. Using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H MRSI), we previously measured levels of the major brain metabolites in CFS, in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and in healthy control subjects, and found significantly higher levels of ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lactate in CFS compared to the other two groups. In the present study, we sought to assess the specificity of this observation for CFS by comparing ventricular lactate levels in a new cohort of 17 CFS subjects with those in 19 healthy volunteers and in 21 subjects with major depressive disorder (MDD), which, like GAD, is a neuropsychiatric disorder that has significant symptom overlap with CFS. Ventricular CSF lactate was significantly elevated in CFS compared to healthy volunteers, replicating the major result of our previous study. Ventricular lactate measures in MDD did not differ from those in either CFS or healthy volunteers. We found a significant correlation between ventricular CSF lactate and severity ofmental fatigue that was specific to the CFS group. In an exploratory analysis, we did not find evidence for altered levels of the amino acid neurotransmitters, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate + glutamine ('Glx'), in CFS compared to MDD or healthy controls. Future 1H MRS studies with larger sample sizes and well-characterized populations will be necessary to further clarify the sensitivity and specificity of neurometabolic abnormalities in CFS and MDD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-650
Number of pages8
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Glutamate
  • Lactate
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Major depressive disorder
  • γ-aminobutyric acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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