Francisco Westermeier




Since 2018 to date, I lead a research line focused on myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a complex post-infection disease characterized by severe fatigue and exercise intolerance (Westermeier et al., 2022). Since ME/CFS is associated with endothelial dysfunction (ED), we are focused on investigating potential cellular mechanisms underlying vascular abnormalities.

Supported by ME Research UK and Solve ME (USA), our research group has reported that a set of microRNAs (miRs) – described to reduce the production of nitric oxide (NO) by endothelial cells (ECs) – is increased in plasma from ME/CFS patients (Blauensteiner et al. 2021). In fact, we recently complemented those findings by showing that plasma from the same cohort of affected patients reduced the ability of ECs to produce NO. This evidence was also linked to impaired activity of the endothelial isoform of nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), the enzyme responsible to produce NO in ECs (Bertinat et al. 2022). Currently, we are trying to move one step forward by evaluating several hormonal and metabolic pathways that might be responsible for the reduced eNOS activity in ME/CFS.

In line with my research-related activities, I serve as an Associate Editor in Cardiovascular Diabetology and Frontiers in Cardiovascular Endocrinology, solicited Reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals (>15) and research agencies (>5), and as a member of the Chilean and Austrian Physiological Societies.

In parallel, I have been lecturing in pre- and post-graduate courses belonging to the programs in Biomedical Science (Bachelor) and Mass Spectrometry and Molecular Analytics (Master) at the Institute of Biomedical Science, Department of Health Studies.


#36 articles published in international peer-reviewed journals.

Selected articles (linked to ME/CFS):

Westermeier F, Lacerda EM, Scheibenbogen C, Sepúlveda N.
Editorial: Current Insights Into Complex Post-infection Fatigue Syndromes With Unknown Aetiology: The Case of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Beyond.
Frontiers in Medicine, 2022, doi: 10.3389/fmed.2022.862953

Bertinat R, Villalobos-Labra R, Hofmann L, Blauensteiner J, Sepúlveda N, Westermeier F. (*)
Decreased NO production in endothelial cells exposed to plasma from ME/CFS patients.
Vascular Pharmacology, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.vph.2022

Blauensteiner J, Bertinat R, León LE, Riederer M, Sepúlveda N, Westermeier F. (*)
Altered endothelial dysfunction-related miRs in plasma from ME/CFS patients.
Scientific Reports, 2021, doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89834-9

(*) Corresponding author