Suggested pathology of systemic exertion intolerance disease: Impairment of the E 3 subunit or crossover of swinging arms of the E 2 subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex decreases regeneration of cofactor dihydrolipoic acid of the E 2 subunit

Victoria J Berdikova Bohne, Øyvind Bohne
Medical Hypotheses 2019, 130: 109260
Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has an unknown aetiology, with no known treatment and a prevalence of approximately 22 million individuals (2%) in Western countries. Although strongly suspected, the role of lactate in pathology is unknown, nor has the nature of the two most central symptoms of the condition - post exertional malaise and fatigue. The proposed mechanism of action of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) plays a central role in maintaining energy production with cofactors alpha-lipoic acid (LA) and its counterpart dihydrolipoic acid (DHLA), its regeneration suggested as the new rate limiting factor. Decreased DHLA regeneration due to impairment of the E3 subunit or crossover of the swinging arms of the E2 subunit of PDC have been suggested as a cause of ME/CFS/SEID resulting in instantaneous fluctuations in lactate levels and instantaneous offset of the DHLA/LA ratio and defining the condition as an LA deficiency with chronic instantaneous hyperlactataemia with explicit stratification of symptoms. While instantaneous hyperlactataemia has been suggested to account for the PEM, the fatigue was explained by the downregulated throughput of pyruvate and consequently lower production of ATP with the residual enzymatic efficacy of the E3 subunit or crossover of the E2 as a proposed explanation of the fatigue severity. Functional diagnostics and visualization of instantaneous elevations of lactate and DHLA has been suggested. Novel treatment strategies have been implicated to compensate for chronic PDC impairment and hyperlactataemia. This hypothesis potentially influences the current understanding and treatment methods for any type of hyperlactataemia, fatigue, ME/CFS/SEID, and conditions associated with PDC impairment.


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