We designed a clinical intervention, safely producing a post-exertional malaise (PEM), a hallmark symptom of ME / CFS. We hypothesized that a standardized stress-test inducing PEM, will reveal a more specific disease signature associated with ME / CFS symptoms. In that context, we investigated the role of circulating microRNAs, which are small non-coding RNA molecules that can be detected in the blood as well as in other biological fluids.
Studying microRNAs might help to bridge the conceptual gap between genetic predisposition and environmental factors causing ME / CFS or exacerbating specific symptoms. Equally important, the design of a portable clinical intervention allows investigating severely ill persons with ME / CFS, especially the ones that are housebound.