Neurologic Post Treatment Lyme disease syndrome (nPTLS), two conditions that share common symptoms of fatigue and cognitive dysfunction. The rationale for the study was that "despite extensive research, CFS and nPTLS remain medically unexplained. There are no biological markers to distinguish these syndromes, creating diagnostic dilemmas and impeding research into understanding each individual syndrome."
After examining the cerebrospinal fluid samples, the research team discovered distinct sets of proteins which could accurately distinguish between the two illnesses and differentiated them from healthy controls. The study identified 738 proteins that were found in CFS, but not in either healthy normal controls or nPTLS; 2) 1,582 proteins that were not identified in CFS, but were in either nPTLS disease or healthy normal controls; 3) 692 proteins that were identified in the nPTLS patients, but not in healthy normal controls or CFS; and 4) 1,597 proteins that were not identified in nPTLS, but were identified in either healthy normal controls or CFS. (Of further interest the researchers noted that the CDK5 pathway, was "significantly enriched" for proteins found exclusively in the CFS fluid. The researchers pointed out that this signaling pathway has been linked to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, two neurological diseases.)
The significance of this study is that the analysis of proteins in cerebrospinal fluid could serve as a biomarker for CFS.
Schutzer, Steven E., Thomas E. Angel, Tao Liu, Athena A. Schepmoes, Therese R. Clauss, Joshua N. Adkins, David G. Camp II, Bart K. Holland, Jonas Bergquist, Patricia K. Coyle, Richard D. Smith, Brian A. Fallon, Benjamin H. Natelson. “Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post-Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.” PLoS ONE 6(2): e17287. (2011) http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017287