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      The occurrence of hyperactivated platelets and fibrinaloid microclots in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

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          Abstract

          We have previously demonstrated that platelet poor plasma (PPP) obtained from patients with LongCovid/Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) is characterized by a hypercoagulable state reflected in hyperactivated platelets and the presence of considerable numbers of fibrin(ogen) amyloid microclots or fibrinaloid microclots. Due to substantial overlap in symptoms and aetiology between PASC and ME/CFS, we investigated whether coagulopathies, platelet hyperactivation and/or fibrin amyloid formation differed between individuals exhibiting ME/CFS and gender- and age-matched healthy controls. ME/CFS patients were statistically far more hypercoagulable as judged by thromboelastography of both whole blood and platelet-poor plasma. The area of plasma images containing fibrinaloid microclots was commonly more than 10-fold greater in untreated platelet-poor plasma from individuals with ME/CFS than in that of healthy controls. A similar difference was found when the plasma samples were treated with thrombin. Using fluorescently labelled PAC-1, which recognizes glycoprotein IIb/IIIa, and CD62P, which binds P-selectin, we observed massive hyperactivation and spreading of platelets in samples from individuals with ME/CFS. Using a quantitative scoring system, this was found to have a score of 2.72 ± 1.24 vs 1.00 (activation with pseudopodia formation) for healthy controls. We conclude that ME/CFS is accompanied by substantial and measurable changes in coagulability, platelet hyperactivation, and fibrinaloid microclot formation. However, fibrinaloid microclot load was not as prevalent as was previously noted in PASC. Fibrinaloid microclots, in particular can provide a ready explanation, via (temporary) blockage of microcapillaries and hence ischaemia, for many of the symptoms, such as fatigue, seen in patients with ME/CFS. The discovery of these biomarkers pointing to significant and systemic endothelial inflammation, represents an important development in ME/CFS research. It also points at novel treatment strategies using known drugs and/or nutraceuticals that target systemic vascular pathology and endothelial inflammation.

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          Author and article information

          Contributors
          (View ORCID Profile)
          (View ORCID Profile)
          Journal
          Research Square
          June 08 2022
          Affiliations
          [1 ]Stellenbosch University
          [2 ]PolyBio Research Foundation
          [3 ]University of Liverpool
          Article
          10.21203/rs.3.rs-1727226/v1
          85e66864-71af-4c56-b3cf-6f99d02477eb
          © 2022

          https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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          Self URI (article page): https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-1727226/v1

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