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Endothelial Dysfunction and Altered Endothelial Biomarkers in Patients with Post-COVID-19 Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)


Principal investigator:
Study start:
Not available
Completion (planned):
Not available
Last update:


Research types:
Clinical research
Research areas:
Cardiovascular dysfunction
EndoPat 2000
Priv. Sector Partner:

Project description

Background: ME/CFS is often associated with viral infections in patients suffering from this disease. There is also evidence of endothelial dysfunctio (ED) in the context of COVID-19. The endothelium is both the target and the effector organ. Some patients develop Post-COVID Syndrom as a result of the disease, others the full picture of ME/CFS. The aim of the study was to investigate whether differences in peripheral endothelial function and in serum concentrations of endothelial biomarkers exist in patients with PCS, patients with post-COVID ME/CFS and healthy controls (HC).

Methods: In a primary cohort, the peripheral endothelial function and the serum concentration of the endothelial biomarkers were measured. A validation cohort was also used to determine the concentration of the biomarker and was supplemented by a group of those who had recovered from COVID-19 (PCHC). The included patients had a mild to moderate course of COVID-19 without hospitalisation and presented at least 12 weeks later with persistent exhaustion and exercise intolerance. Sandwich enzyme immunoassays were carried out to quantitatively determine the serum concentrations of endothelial biomarkers. Measurement of endothelial function was carried out using peripheral arterial tonometry.

Results: results showed a significantly more frequent presence of ED in patients with ME/CFS and PCS compared to HC. Patients had significantly higher serum concentrations of the potent constructor endothelin-1 compared to the HC groups.

Conclusion: The results indicate a dysfunctional state of the endothelium in patients with PCS and post-COVID ME/CFS with regard to both clinical pictures. Endothilin-1 could have future potential as a diagnostic marker. In order to develop urgently needed therapies, the endothelium should become a focus of research.

(Description adapted from project website: see link above)

Patient cohort

ME/CFS according to Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) and Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS) with PEM (including post-COVID ME/CFS), compared with healthy controls (without known history of COVID-19 and prior to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination). Validation group included ME/CFS according to CCC, Post-COVID Syndrome (PCS) with PEM (including post-COVID ME/CFS), compared with healthy controls (with and without known history of COVID-19 and prior to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination).

Patients enrolled: 171

Age group: 23 - 66 years (Older Adults, Adults)

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