Mitochondria play crucial role in innate immunity, namely through their induction of interferon production and apoptosis through mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS). Many viruses evade host immunity by cleaving or downregulating MAVS.
In human disease
Infection with pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, can all induce changes in mitochondrial function and energy metabolism.
Viruses can induce or inhibit mitochondrial processes in order to replicate. "Viruses like Herpes simplex virus 1 deplete the host mitochondrial DNA and some, like human immunodeficiency virus and Hepatitis C Virus, hijack the host mitochondrial proteins to function fully inside the host cell." Hepatitis C has also been shown to "fragment host mitochondria".
Parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii have also been shown to modulate host energy metabolism and dysregulate mitochondrial function,, as have bacteria  such as E. coli, which has been shown to modulate mitochondrial receptor function.
Mitochondrial disease has a high prevalence of fatigue and debilitation.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
There is evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Muscle biopsies have shown evidence of mitochondrial degeneration , deletions of mitochondrial DNA , the reduction of mitochondrial activity , and Sarah Myhill found measurable mitochondrial dysfunction correlating with severity of illness. Myhill also produced improvement by targeting those dysfunctions. Mitochondrial DNA variants correlate with symptoms, symptom clusters & symptom severity.
There is evidence of genetic risk factors for mitochondrial dysfunction in related diseases such as complex regional pain syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and dysautonomia.
In March 2016, it was announced that the ME/CFS Severely Ill, Big Data Study led by doctor Ronald Davis at the Open Medicine Foundation had a significant result in the area of mitochondria. This resulted in the addition of Robert Naviaux (a mitochondrial expert) to the research team. The results have yet to be published, however a second, replication, study is underway with a different patient group.
- 2016, Exercise-induced mitochondrial dysfunction: a myth or reality?
- 2016, Pharmacological NAD-Boosting Strategies Improve Mitochondrial Homeostasis in Human Complex I-Mutant Fibroblasts
- 2015, Metabolic profiling reveals anomalous energy metabolism and oxidative stress pathways in chronic fatigue syndrome patients
- 1997, Chronic fatigue syndrome and skeletal muscle mitochondrial function
- Wikipedia - Mitochondrion
- 2016, Immune System Conserves Energy By Altering Metabolism
- 2016, ME Association to fund fourth study into the role of the mitochondria in ME/CFS (ME Association)
- CFS - The Central Cause - Mitochondrial Failure (Sarah Myhill)
- 2016, ME Association Goes All in on the Mitochondria in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
- 2016, Australian metabolomics study of young women with ME/CFS (CCC)
- 2016, "Mitochondria Man Gets Money UK Goes Mega Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research Moves Forward"
- Cellular respiration
- Sarah Myhill
- Robert Naviaux
- NT Factor
- Ketogenic diet
- Mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS)
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- Health Rising Forum (19 Mar 2016), End ME/CFS Severe Patient Study Turns to the Mitochondria
- Metabolomic and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – by Robert Naviaux, MD
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