Assessing cellular energy dysfunction in CFS/ME using a commercially available laboratory test.

The mitochondrial energy score (MES) protocol, developed by the Myhill group, is marketed as a diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

This study assessed the reliability and reproducibility of the test, currently provided by private clinics, to assess its potential to be developed as an NHS accredited laboratory test. We replicated the MES protocol using neutrophils and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from CFS/ME patients (10) and healthy controls (13).

The protocol was then repeated in PBMCs and neutrophils from healthy controls to investigate the effect of delayed sample processing time used by the Myhill group. Experiments using the established protocol showed no differences between CFS/ME patients and healthy controls in any of the components of the MES (p ≥ 0.059).

Delaying blood sample processing by 24 hours (well within the 72 hour time frame quoted by the Myhill group) significantly altered many of the parameters used to calculate the MES in both neutrophils and PBMCs.

The MES test does not have the reliability and reproducibility required of a diagnostic test and therefore should not currently be offered as a diagnostic test for CFS/ME. The differences observed by the Myhill group may be down to differences in sample processing time between cohorts.