Quantification of selected energy and redox markers in blood samples of chronic fatigue syndrome patients
Chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis) are rapidly becoming a worldwide epidemic that profoundly affects public health and productivity. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterised by severe and debilitating fatigue and although its etiology is still unknown, recent studies have found considerable evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress might be responsible for the underlying energy deficit in these patients. Adenine and pyridine nucleotides could be used as potential biomarkers for energy related disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome because of their various functions in the energy and redox pathways. The first part of this study focussed on developing a liquid chromatography electrosprayionisation tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) method for the quantification of these nucleotides in blood samples. Due to the instability of nucleotides in biological matrices it was also necessary to find a suitable extraction method that would be able to stop enzymatic activity via protein precipitation. Out of the four extraction methods investigated during this study, deproteinisation of whole blood samples with perchloric acid produced the highest nucleotide abundances. Although nucleotide standards were found to be stable in perchloric acid, nucleotide levels in blood samples were not stabilised by addition of perchloric acid. The second part of this study consisted of measuring the nucleotide levels in blood samples of controls and possible CFS patients in order to test the proof of concept of the new LCESI-MS/MS method. Despite changes in the nucleotide levels due to perchloric acid and problems with nucleotide instability, it was still possible to distinguish between the two groups based on the results obtained with the new LC-ESI-MS/MS method. The newly developed LC-ESI-MS/MS method proved to be reliable and adequate for nucleotide quantification in whole blood samples, thus the aim of this study was achieved.