Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a persistent and unexplained pathological state characterized by exertional and severely debilitating fatigue, with/without infectious or neuropsychiatric symptoms, lasting at least 6 consecutive months. Its pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Here, we performed comprehensive metabolomic analyses of 133 plasma samples obtained from CFS patients and healthy controls to establish an objective diagnosis of CFS. CFS patients exhibited significant differences in intermediate metabolite concentrations in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) and urea cycles. The combination of ornithine/citrulline and pyruvate/isocitrate ratios discriminated CFS patients from healthy controls, yielding area under the receiver operating characteristic curve values of 0.801 (95% confidential interval [CI]: 0.711-0.890, P < 0.0001) and 0.750 (95% CI: 0.584-0.916, P = 0.0069) for training (n = 93) and validation (n = 40) datasets, respectively. These findings provide compelling evidence that a clinical diagnostic tool could be developed for CFS based on the ratios of metabolites in plasma.
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