An Etiological Model for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Academic Article uri icon


  • Kindling might represent a heuristic model for understanding the etiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Kindling occurs when an organism is exposed repeatedly to an initially sub-threshold stimulus resulting in hypersensitivity and spontaneous seizure-like activity. Among patients with ME/CFS, chronically repeated low-intensity stimulation due to an infectious illness might cause kindling of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Kindling might also occur by high-intensity stimulation (e.g., brain trauma) of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Once this system is charged or kindled, it can sustain a high level of arousal with little or no external stimulus and eventually this could lead to hypocortisolism. Seizure activity may spread to adjacent structures of the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary axis in the brain, which might be responsible for the varied symptoms that occur among patients with ME/CFS. In addition, kindling may also be responsible for high levels of oxidative stress, which has been found in patients with ME/CFS.

published proceedings

  • Neurosci Med

altmetric score

  • 39.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Jason, L. A., Sorenson, M., Porter, N., & Belkairous, N.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Jason, Leonard A||Sorenson, Matthew||Porter, Nicole||Belkairous, Natalie

publication date

  • January 2011