Circular RNAs as biomarkers of chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-lasting and disabling condition characterized by disproportional fatigue after exertions, musculoskeletal pain, headaches, cognitive impairments, and other symptoms. The disease mechanisms of CFS remain poorly understood, but some studies indicate modest immunological alterations. Expression patterns and characteristics of circRNAs make them ideal candidates as potential biomarkers for complex diseases. For example, in the case of cancerous tissue, it is known that cellular proliferation rates are significantly higher than that of their non-cancerous counterparts; thus, it can be soundly deduced that a smaller amount of circRNA is found in cancer. It is however an abundant presence of circRNAs in human blood and saliva that is the most promising feature of them as potential biomarkers of disease. The overall aim of this project is to examine the hypothesis that the expression of circRNAs in patients with CFS is perturbed and this alteration can be detected in peripheral blood of affected individuals. The project will employ meta-analytical and experimental approaches to investigate differentially expressed circRNAs as well as to discover novel circular transcripts characteristic for CFS. The outcome of this project will lead to development of new strategies in monitoring onset and progression of the disease as well as identification of new molecular targets for treatment of CFS.


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