Läkarvetenskapliga rapporter om

myalgisk encefalopati (ME) och infektioner




Increased serum IgA and IgM against LPS of enterobacteria in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): Indication for the involvement of gram-negative enterobacteria in the etiology of CFS and for the presence of an increased gut-intestinal permeability.

Maes M, Mihaylova I, Leunis JC.  

J Affect Disord. 2006 Sep 26;



There is now evidence that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is accompanied by immune disorders and by increased oxidative stress. The present study has been designed in order to examine the serum concentrations of IgA and IgM to LPS of gram-negative enterobacteria, i.e. Hafnia alvei; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Morganella morganii, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas putida, Citrobacter koseri, and Klebsiella pneumoniae in CFS patients, patients with partial CFS and normal controls. We found that the prevalences and median values for serum IgA against the LPS of enterobacteria are significantly greater in patients with CFS than in normal volunteers and patients with partial CFS. Serum IgA levels were significantly correlated to the severity of illness, as measured by the FibroFatigue scale and to symptoms, such as irritable bowel, muscular tension, fatigue, concentration difficulties, and failing memory. The results show that enterobacteria are involved in the etiology of CFS and that an increased gut-intestinal permeability has caused an immune response to the LPS of gram-negative enterobacteria. It is suggested that all patients with CFS should be checked by means of the IgA panel used in the present study and accordingly should be treated for increased gut permeability.




Multiple co-infections (Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, human herpes virus-6) in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients: association with signs and symptoms.

Nicolson GL, Gan R, Haier J.

APMIS. 2003 May;111(5):557-66.



Previously we and others found that a majority of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients showed evidence of systemic mycoplasmal infections, and their blood tested positive using a polymerase chain reaction assay for at least one of the four following Mycoplasma species: M. fermentans, M. hominis, M. pneumoniae or M. penetrans. Consistent with previous results, patients in the current study (n=200) showed a high prevalence (overall 52%) of mycoplasmal infections. Using forensic polymerase chain reaction we also examined whether these same patients showed evidence of infections with Chlamydia pneumoniae (overall 7.5% positive) and/or active human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6, overall 30.5% positive). Since the presence of one or more infections may predispose patients to other infections, we examined the prevalence of C. pneumoniae and HHV-6 active infections in mycoplasma-positive and -negative patients. Unexpectedly, we found that the incidence of C. pneumoniae or HHV-6 was similar in Mycoplasma-positive and -negative patients, and the converse was also found in active HHV-6-positive and -negative patients. Control subjects (n=100) had low rates of mycoplasmal (6%), active HHV-6 (9%) or chlamydial (1%) infections, and there were no co-infections in control subjects. Differences in bacterial and/or viral infections in CFS patients compared to control subjects were significant. Severity and incidence of patients' signs and symptoms were compared within the above groups. Although there was a tendency for patients with multiple infections to have more severe signs and symptoms (p<0.01), the only significant differences found were in the incidence and severity of certain signs and symptoms in patients with multiple co-infections of any type compared to the other groups (p<0.01). There was no correlation between the type of co-infection and severity of signs and symptoms. The results indicate that a large subset of CFS patients show evidence of bacterial and/or viral infection(s), and these infections may contribute to the severity of signs and symptoms found in these patients.




Exercise capacity and immune function in male and female patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Snell CR, Vanness JM, Strayer DR, Stevens SR.

In Vivo. 2005 Mar-Apr;19(2):387-90.



Hyperactivition of an unwanted cellular cascade by the immune-related protein RNase L has been linked to reduced exercise capacity in persons with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This investigation compares exercise capacities of CFS patients with deregulation of the RNase L pathway and CFS patients with normal regulation, while controlling for potentially confounding gender effects. Thirty-five male and seventy-one female CFS patients performed graded exercise tests to voluntary exhaustion. Measures of peak VO2, peak heart rate, body mass index, perceived exertion, and respiratory quotient were entered into a two-way factorial analysis with gender and immune status as independent variables. A significant multivariate main effect was found for immune status (p < 0.01), with no gender effect or interaction. Follow-up analyses identified VO2(peak) as contributing most to the difference. These results implicate abnormal immune activity in the pathology of exercise intolerance in CFS and are consistent with a channelopathy involving oxidative stress and nitric oxide-related toxicity.




Lower serum zinc in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): relationships to immune dysfunctions and relevance for the oxidative stress status in CFS.

Maes M, Mihaylova I, De Ruyter M.

J Affect Disord. 2006 Feb;90(2-3):141-7. Epub 2005 Dec 9.



The present study examines serum zinc concentrations in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) versus normal volunteers. Serum zinc levels were determined by means of an atomic absorption method. We found that serum zinc was significantly lower in the CFS patients than in the normal controls. There was a trend toward a significant negative correlation between serum zinc and the severity of CFS and there was a significant and negative correlation between serum zinc and the subjective experience of infection. We found that serum zinc was significantly and negatively correlated to the increase in the alpha2 protein fraction and positively correlated to decreases in the expression of mitogen-induced CD69+ (a T cell activation marker) on CD3+ as well as CD3+CD8+ T cells. These results show that CFS is accompanied by a low serum zinc status and that the latter is related to signs of inflammation and defects in early T cell activation pathways. Since zinc is a strong anti-oxidant, the present results further support the findings that CFS is accompanied by increased oxidative stress. The results of these reports suggest that some patients with CFS should be treated with specific antioxidants, including zinc supplements.




The role of enterovirus in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Chia JK.

J Clin Pathol. 2005 Nov;58(11):1126-32.



Two and a half decades after coining of the term chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the diagnosis of this illness is still symptom based and the aetiology remains elusive. Enteroviruses are well known causes of acute respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, with tropism for the central nervous system, muscles, and heart. Initial reports of chronic enteroviral infections causing debilitating symptoms in patients with CFS were met with skeptism, and had been largely forgotten for the past decade. Observations from in vitro experiments and from animal models clearly established a state of chronic persistence through the formation of double stranded RNA, similar to findings reported in muscle biopsies of patients with CFS. Recent evidence not only confirmed the earlier studies, but also clarified the pathogenic role of viral RNA through antiviral treatment. This review summarises the available experimental and clinical evidence that supports the role of enterovirus in chronic fatigue syndrome.




Clinical activity of folinic acid in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lundell K, Qazi S, Eddy L, Uckun FM.

Arzneimittelforschung. 2006;56(6):399-404.



A high incidence of severe B-cell immunodeficiency and chronic reactivated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is reported herein. Of the 58 patients evaluated, 100% had evidence of prior EBV exposure and 72% had evidence for reactivated EBV infection. Notably, 94% of CFS patients had B-cell immunodeficiency with a marked depletion of their CD19+IgM+ mature B-lymphocyte population. A remarkable 81% of CFS patients experienced subjective improvement of their symptoms after treatment with folinic acid (CAS 58-05-9, leucovorin). The findings provide unprecedented evidence that CFS frequently is a folinic acid responsive clinical entity accompanied by B-cell immunodeficiency and inappropriate antibody responses to EBV.




Detection of antibody against Borna disease virus-p24 in the plasma of Chinese patients with chronic fatigue syndrome by Western-blot analysis [Article in Chinese]

Li YJ, Wang DX, Zhang FM, Liu ZD, Yang AY, Ykuta K.

Zhonghua Shi Yan He Lin Chuang Bing Du Xue Za Zhi. 2003 Dec;17(4):330-3.



OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of infection with Borna disease virus (BDV) in Chinese patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and control subjects, and to discuss the etiological association between CFS and infection with BDV. METHODS: The CDC (1994) diagnostic criteria for CFS were used for case definition. Sixty-one patients suffered from CFS were from 11 Provinces in China. To detect the antibody against BDV-p24 on the plasma samples from all cases and 73 healthy control subjects by Western-blotting analysis. RESULTS: 7 of the sixty-one cases and 0 of the controls were sero-positive for BDV-p24 antibody, there was a statistical significant difference between the two groups (11.48% vs 0%; P less than 0.010). CONCLUSION: Chinese patients with CFS showed sero-positive identifying BDV infection, by comparison, anti.BDV-p24 antibody prevalence in patients was significantly higher than in controls. An etiological association may exist between CFS and BDV infection.




Increased neutrophil apoptosis in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Kennedy G, Spence V, Underwood C, Belch JJ.

J Clin Pathol. 2004 Aug;57(8):891-3



BACKGROUND/AIMS: Many patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have symptoms that are consistent with an underlying viral or toxic illness. Because increased neutrophil apoptosis occurs in patients with infection, this study examined whether this phenomenon also occurs in patients with CFS. METHODS: Apoptosis was assessed in patients with CFS in conjunction with concentrations of the anti-inflammatory cytokine, transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1). RESULTS: The 47 patients with CFS had higher numbers of apoptotic neutrophils, lower numbers of viable neutrophils, increased annexin V binding, and increased expression of the death receptor, tumour necrosis factor receptor-I, on their neutrophils than did the 34 healthy controls. Patients with CFS also had raised concentrations of active TGFbeta1 (p < 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide new evidence that patients with CFS have an underlying detectable abnormality in their immune cells.




Influenza vaccination: is it appropriate in chronic fatigue syndrome?

Sleigh KM, Marra FH, Stiver HG.

Am J Respir Med. 2002;1(1):3-9.



Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a recognized clinical illness of unknown cause and pathophysiologic mechanisms. Immunizing patients against influenza would seem to be a prudent strategy since infection has been associated with symptom exacerbation. However, patients with CFS have demonstrated variable abnormalities in the immune system, the clinical significance of which is unclear. Anecdotal information has suggested that, due to the etiologic uncertainty surrounding CFS, many patients reject immunization, fearful of untoward effects. This article attempts to clarify the situation by reviewing immunologic findings in CFS and influenza vaccines in current use. Results from a recent survey of perceptions of patients with CFS regarding immunization revealed that 31% felt immunization was neither safe nor beneficial. This opinion was universal in those patients who had never received influenza vaccine. Among patients who had received vaccine and experienced an adverse effect, 26% felt the vaccine was safe and 28% felt it was beneficial. Among those who had received vaccine without an adverse effect, 45% believed the vaccine was safe, and 55% felt it was effective. CFS patients as a group expressed concern that influenza vaccine would alter an already dysfunctional immune system, or worsen CFS symptoms. Significantly more patients with CFS who had never received influenza vaccine voiced this opinion than did patients who had received immunization for influenza in the past. Contrary to the opinions expressed by the sample, clinical trials in CFS have yet to find that any type of immunization has produced a deleterious effect on symptoms or functioning. Moreover, patients with CFS in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of influenza immunization produced an antibody titer in the protective range to inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine, although the geometric mean titer was slightly blunted compared with healthy vaccinees. Although patients with CFS in placebo and active groups reported four times the number of post-injection adverse effects of healthy vaccinees, data re-analysis revealed that this finding was related to the overlap of common, post-influenza immunization symptoms and CFS constitutional symptoms. CFS is a poorly understood illness and some patients may believe in causal theories that lead to the rejection of disease prevention strategies such as immunization. However, influenza immunization appears to provide protective antibody levels without worsening CFS symptoms or causing excessive adverse effects. Efforts to motivate patients with CFS to obtain annual influenza immunization should take into account illness perceptions and concentrate on education based on placebo-controlled trials.




Diagnostic evaluation of 2', 5'-oligoadenylate synthetase activities and antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus and Coxiella burnetii in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome in Japan.

Ikuta K, Yamada T, Shimomura T, Kuratsune H, Kawahara R, Ikawa S, Ohnishi E, Sokawa Y, Fukushi H, Hirai K, Watanabe Y, Kurata T, Kitani T, Sairenji T.

Microbes Infect. 2003 Oct;5(12):1096-102.



To investigate the association of viral infections with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), we assayed 2', 5'-oligoadenylate synthetase (2-5AS) activities in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from CFS patients in Japan. These patients were diagnosed in two hospitals, H1 and H2, located in different areas of the country. The activities were detected in 19 (86%) and 7 (32%) of each of the 22 patients in H1 and H2, respectively, while they were detected in only four (11%) out of the 38 healthy controls. IFN-alpha was similarly detected in a few CFS patients and healthy controls. We also assayed the antibody titers against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Coxiella burnetii in these patients. The EBV anti-EA-IgG antibodies were detected in two (9%) and seven (32%) of each of the 22 patients in H1 and H2, respectively. Anti-C. burnetii IgG antibodies were detected in six (27%) out of 22 patients in H1 but not in 22 patients in H2, while they were detected in one (11%) of the nine healthy controls. Some CFS patients may be associated with EBV or C. burnetii infection. There were some statistical correlations between the 2-5AS activities and antibody titers of EA-IgG (P < 0.05, Student's t-test) but not to the antibody titers of C. burnetii. The up-regulation of 2-5AS activities suggests immunological dysfunctions with some virus infections in the CFS patients. Our results indicate that 2-5AS activities are useful for a diagnostic marker of CFS and for exploring the complicated pathogenesis of CFS.




Mycoplasma blood infection in chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes.

Endresen GK.

Department of Rheumatology, University of Oslo, Norway.

Rheumatol Int. 2003 Sep;23(5):211-5. Epub 2003 Jul 16.



Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are characterised by a lack of consistent laboratory and clinical abnormalities. Although they are distinguishable as separate syndromes based on established criteria, a great number of patients are diagnosed with both. In studies using polymerase chain reaction methods, mycoplasma blood infection has been detected in about 50% of patients with CFS and/or FMS, including patients with Gulf War illnesses and symptoms that overlap with one or both syndromes. Such infection is detected in only about 10% of healthy individuals, significantly less than in patients. Most patients with CFS/FMS who have mycoplasma infection appear to recover and reach their pre-illness state after long-term antibiotic therapy with doxycycline, and the infection can not be detected after recovery. By means of causation and therapy, mycoplasma blood infection may permit a further subclassification of CFS and FMS. It is not clear whether mycoplasmas are associated with CFS/FMS as causal agents, cofactors, or opportunistic infections in patients with immune disturbances. Whether mycoplasma infection can be detected in about 50% of all patient populations with CFS and/or FMS is yet to be determined.




RNase L levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: 37-kilodalton/83-kilodalton isoform ratio is a potential test for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Tiev KP, Demettre E, Ercolano P, Bastide L, Lebleu B, Cabane J.

Service de Medecine Interne, Hopital Saint Antoine, Paris, France.

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2003 Mar;10(2):315-6.



Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by debilitating fatigue associated with immunological abnormalities. The etiology remains unclear. A low-molecular-mass (37 kDa) isoform of RNase L has been described in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) extracts, and the ratio of two isoforms of RNase L (37 kDa/83 kDa) has been proposed as a potential biochemical marker of CFS. In a prospective case-control study, we tested whether the RNase L 37-kDa/83-kDa ratio could discriminate a SFC population. We compared the ratio of RNase L isoforms in PBMCs from 11 patients with CFS (6 women and 5 men; mean age +/- standard deviation, 43.2 +/- 13.8 years) and PBMCs from 14 healthy well-matched volunteers (10 women and 4 men; age, 39.1 +/- 11.6 years). A ratio of RNase L of 0.4 used as a threshold allowed diagnosis of CFS with high sensitivity (91%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 57 to 99%) and specificity (71%; 95% CI, 41 to 90%). The positive and negative prognostic values were 71% (95% CI, 41 to 90%) and 91% (95% CI, 57 to 99%), respectively. In the absence of acute infection or chronic inflammation, a high RNase L ratio could distinguish CFS patients from healthy volunteers. Additional large studies and follow-up studies are required to confirm the stability of this high ratio of RNase L isoforms in a CFS group.




A six-month trial of valacyclovir in the Epstein-Barr virus subset of chronic fatigue syndrome: improvement in left ventricular function.

Lerner AM, Beqaj SH, Deeter RG, Dworkin HJ, Zervos M, Chang CH, Fitzgerald JT, Goldstein J, O'Neill W.

School of Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, USA.

Drugs Today (Barc). 2002 Aug;38(8):549-61.



This study was designed to determine safety and efficacy of a 6-month trial of valacyclovir in single-virus Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) persistent infection. Phase I of this study used four specific criteria to define a subset of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In the second phase, myocardial dynamics were measured by MUGA rest/stress radionuclide ventriculographic (RVG) examinations pre- and posttreatment with valacyclovir. In phase I, a trial was performed in 19 consecutive CFS patients with the following diagnostic conditions: patients met criteria for diagnosis of CFS; they had had CFS for less than 1 year. They demonstrated repetitively abnormal oscillating T waves (ischemic or flat) at 24-h Holter monitoring; and they had elevated serum IgM antibody titers to EBV viral capsid antigen and/or total diffuse early antigen as measured by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method. The treatment group comprised 10 CFS patients with no serum antibodies to human cytomegalovirus, but the control group (nine CFS patients) had, additionally, high titers of serum antibodies (IgG) to conformational structural antigens of human cytomegalovirus. Both the parallel treatment and control CFS groups received valacyclovir 1.0-1.5 gm q.6.h. for 6 months. This valacyclovir dose achieved serum acyclovir C(max) of > 7 microm and high antiviral activity versus EBV (IC(50) of 4.4-13.3 m). In phase II, six additional CFS patients met the same four criteria as the 19 CFS patients in phase I. They had, however, been ill for a mean of 55.8 months. Thus, 25 CFS patients comprise this study. The studies were carried out at a single outpatient practice in Birmingham, MI, U.S.A. Before initiating valacyclovir, and after 6 months of treatment, clinical and laboratory observations were made. The CFS Energy Index point score (Table I) was used to record each CFS patient's functional capacity at baseline and after 1, 3 and 6 months of valacyclovir. Energy Index point scores, as well as EBV and human cytomegalovirus serum antibody titers were assessed. In the second phase, left ventricular dynamics were repeated after 6 months of treatment with valacyclovir. We concluded that the 16 CFS patients (included in both phases of this study) with EBV-persistent infection (EBV single-virus subset) are improved after 6 months of continuous pharmacokinetic dosing with valacyclovir. Nine CFS patients with EBV/human cytomegalovirus co-infection did not benefit from 6 months of similar treatment. Valacyclovir is not an effective anti-human cytomegalovirus antiviral drug. Unimproved CFS patients with co-infections EBV and human cytomegalovirus may require combined treatment with valacyclovir and another drug more active against human cytomegalovirus. This preliminary trial, with a small number of patients, may be critical to an appropriately designed larger, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Copyright 2002 Prous Science




Prevalence of abnormal cardiac wall motion in the cardiomyopathy associated with incomplete multiplication of Epstein-barr Virus and/or cytomegalovirus in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Lerner AM, Dworkin HJ, Sayyed T, Chang CH, Fitzgerald JT, Beqaj S, Deeter RG, Goldstein J, Gottipolu P, O'Neill W.

Department of Medicine, William Beaumont Hospital, Michigan, USA.

In Vivo. 2004 Jul-Aug;18(4):417-24.



We reported unique incomplete herpesvirus (Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and/or nonstructural (HCMV) cytomegalovirus) multiplication in 2 distinct subsets of CFS patients. The CFS subsets were identified by: a) presence of IgM serum antibodies to HCMV nonstructural gene products p52 and CM2 (UL44 and UL57), and/or b) IgM serum antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus viral capsid antigen (EBV, VCA IgM). Diagnostic IgM serum antibodies were found in two independent blinded studies involving 49 CFS patients, but the same antibodies were absent in 170 control patients (p<0.05). Abnormal 24 Hr-electrocardiographic monitoring, tachycardias at rest and, in severe chronic cases, abnormal cardiac wall motion (ACWM) were seen in these same CFS patients. We now report a prospective consecutive case control study from 1987--1999 of cardiac dynamics as measured by radionuclide ventriculography in 98 CFS patients from 1987--1999. Controls were patients with various malignancies who were evaluated in protocols requiring radionuclide ventriculography before initiation of cardiotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. The prevalence of abnormal cardiac wall motion (ACWM) at rest in CFS patients was 10 out of 87 patients (11.5%). With stress exercise, 21 patients (24.1%) demonstrated ACWM. Cardiac biopsies in 3 of these CFS patients with ACWM showed a cardiomyopathy. Among the controls, ACWM at rest was present in 4 out of 191 patients (2%) (p=0.0018). A progressive cardiomyopathy caused by incomplete virus multiplication of EBV and/or HCMV in CFS patients is present.




High prevalence of Mycoplasma infections among European chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Examination of four Mycoplasma species in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients.

Nijs J, Nicolson GL, De Becker P, Coomans D, De Meirleir K.

Department of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2002 Nov 15;34(3):209-14.



Prevalence of Mycoplasma species infections in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) has been extensively reported in the scientific literature. However, all previous reports highlighted the presence of Mycoplasmas in American patients. In this prospective study, the presence of Mycoplasma fermentans, M. penetrans, M. pneumoniae and M. hominis in the blood of 261 European CFS patients and 36 healthy volunteers was examined using forensic polymerase chain reaction. One hundred and seventy-nine (68.6%) patients were infected by at least one species of Mycoplasma, compared to two out of 36 (5.6%) in the control sample (P<0.001). Among Mycoplasma-infected patients, M. hominis was the most frequently observed infection (n=96; 36.8% of the overall sample), followed by M. pneumoniae and M. fermentans infections (equal frequencies; n=67; 25.7%). M. penetrans infections were not found. Multiple mycoplasmal infections were detected in 45 patients (17.2%). Compared to American CFS patients (M. pneumoniae>M. hominis>M. penetrans), a slightly different pattern of mycoplasmal infections was found in European CFS patients (M. hominis>M. pneumoniae, M. fermentansz.Gt;M. penetrans).




Antiviral pathway activation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and acute infection.

Gow JW, Simpson K, Behan PO, Chaudhuri A, McKay IC, Behan WM.

Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Dec 15;33(12):2080-1. Epub 2001 Nov 6.



Gene expression of key enzymes in 2 antiviral pathways (ribonuclease latent [RNase L] and RNA-regulated protein kinase [PKR]) was compared in 22 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), 10 patients with acute gastroenteritis, and 21 healthy volunteers. Pathway activation in the group of patients with infections differed significantly from that of the other 2 groups, in whom there was no evidence of upregulation. Therefore, assay of activation is unlikely to provide the basis for a diagnostic test for CFS.




Studies on enterovirus in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Gow JW, Behan WM, Simpson K, McGarry F, Keir S, Behan PO.

Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S126-9.



A large study on 121 patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that examined muscle biopsy samples for enterovirus by means of polymerase chain reaction analysis was carried out. The results were compared with those obtained from 101 muscle biopsy specimens from patients with a variety of other neuromuscular disorders (OND), including neurogenic atrophies, dystrophies, and mitochondrial, metabolic, and endocrine myopathies. Thirty-two (26.4%) of the biopsy specimens from the group of patients with CFS were positive, compared with 20 (19.8%) from the group of patients with OND, a difference that was not significant. This finding is in contrast to those of our previous smaller study in which significantly more patients with CFS than control subjects (53% [32 of 60] vs. 15% [6 of 41]) had enterovirus RNA sequences in their muscle. It was concluded that it is unlikely that persistent enterovirus infection plays a pathogenetic role in CFS, although an effect in initiating the disease process cannot be excluded.




Impairments of the 2-5A synthetase/RNase L pathway in chronic fatigue syndrome

Nijs J, De Meirleir K.

In Vivo. 2005 Nov-Dec;19(6):1013-21



This paper provides an overview of the evidence addressing the impairments of the 2'-5' oligoadenylate (2-5 A) synthetase/RNase L pathway in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) patients. The 2-5A synthetase/RNase L pathway in CFS patients appears to be both up-regulated (i.e. increased levels of bioactive 2-5A synthetase and increased activity of the RNase L enzyme) and deregulated (elastase and calpain initiate 83 kDa RNase L proteolysis, generating two major fragments with molecular masses of 37 and 30 kDa, respectively). The deregulation of the 2-5A synthetase/RNase L pathway in CFS accompanies decreased NK-function and deregulation of apoptotic pathways. Since various components of the pathway appear to be related to performance during a graded exercise stress test, some evidence supportive of the clinical importance of the impaired pathway in CFS patients has been provided. Studies addressing the treatment of the deregulation of the 2-5A synthetase/RNase L pathway in CFS are warranted.




Gene expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

N Kaushik, D Fear, S C M Richards, C R McDermott, E F Nuwaysir, P Kellam, T J Harrison, R J Wilkinson, D A J Tyrrell, S T Holgate, J R Kerr.

Journal of Clinical Pathology 2005;58:826-832




BACKGROUND: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a multisystem disease, the pathogenesis of which remains undetermined. AIMS: To test the hypothesis that there are reproducible abnormalities of gene expression in patients with CFS compared with normal healthy persons.

METHODS: To gain further insight into the pathogenesis of this disease, gene expression was analysed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 25 patients with CFS diagnosed according to the Centers for Disease Control criteria and 25 normal blood donors matched for age, sex, and geographical location, using a single colour microarray representing 9522 human genes. After normalisation, average difference values for each gene were compared between test and control groups using a cutoff fold difference of expression > or = 1.5 and a p value of 0.001. Genes showing differential expression were further analysed using Taqman real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in fresh samples.

RESULTS: Analysis of microarray data revealed differential expression of 35 genes. Real time PCR confirmed differential expression in the same direction as array results for 16 of these genes, 15 of which were upregulated (ABCD4, PRKCL1, MRPL23, CD2BP2, GSN, NTE, POLR2G, PEX16, EIF2B4, EIF4G1, ANAPC11, PDCD2, KHSRP, BRMS1, and GABARAPL1) and one of which was downregulated (IL-10RA). This profile suggests T cell activation and perturbation of neuronal and mitochondrial function. Upregulation of neuropathy target esterase and eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4G1 may suggest links with organophosphate exposure and virus infection, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that patients with CFS have reproducible alterations in gene regulation.




Current research priorities in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME): disease mechanisms, a diagnostic test and specific treatments

Kerr JR, Christian P, Hodgetts A, Langford PR, Devanur LD, Petty R, Burke B, Sinclair LI, Richards SC, Montgomery J, McDermott C, Harrison TJ, Kellam P, Nutt DJ, Holgate ST.

J Clin Pathol. 2006 Aug 25



Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness characterised by disabling fatigue of at least 6 months duration which is accompanied by various rheumatological, infectious and neuropsychiatric symptoms. A collaborative study group has been formed in order to address the current areas for development in CFS research, namely, to develop an understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of CFS, to develop a diagnostic test, and to develop specific and curative treatments. Various groups have studied the gene expression in peripheral blood of CFS patients and of those studies which have been confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), it is clear that the most predominant functional theme is that of immunity and defense. However, we do not yet know the precise gene signature and metabolic pathways involved. Currently, this is being addressed using a microarray representing 47,000 human genes and variants, massive parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) and real-time PCR. It will be important to ensure that once a gene signature has been identified, that it is specific to CFS and does not occur in other diseases and infections. A diagnostic test is being developed using Surface-Enhanced, Laser-Desorption and Ionisation - Time of Flight (SELDI-TOF) mass spectrometry following a pilot study in which putative biomarkers were identified. And, finally, clinical trials are being planned; novel treatments which we believe are important to trial in CFS patients are interferon-a and one of the anti-tumour necrosis factor-a drugs.




Chronic fatigue syndrome

Devanur LD, Kerr JR.

J Clin Virol. 2006 Sep 13



Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is thought to have a worldwide prevalence of 0.4-1% with approximately 240,000 patients in the UK. Diagnosis is based on clinical criteria and critically depends on exclusion of other physical and psychiatric diseases. Studies of pathogenesis have revealed immune system abnormalities and chronic immune activation, dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, brain abnormalities, evidence of emotional stress (comprising host aspects) and evidence of exogenous insults, for example, various microbial infections (Epstein-Barr virus, enteroviruses, parvovirus B19, Coxiella burnetii and Chlamydia pneumoniae), vaccinations and exposure to organophosphate chemicals and other toxins (comprising environmental aspects). Emotional stress appears to be very important as it reduces the ability of the immune system to clear infections, it's presence has been shown to determine whether or not an individual develops symptoms upon virus infection, and it leads to activation of the HPA axis. But, emotional stress is distinct from depression, the presence of which precludes a diagnosis of CFS. There is no specific treatment for CFS other than the much underutilised approach of specific treatment of virus infections. Current priorities are to understand the molecular pathogenesis of disease in terms of human and virus gene expression, to develop a diagnostic test based on protein biomarkers, and to develop specific curative treatments.




Detection of Actin Fragments in Serum: A Rapid Screening Test to Aid in the Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrom.

The Fragmented Actin Serum Test (FASTest™)


In its native form, actin exists in a monomeric state with a molecular weight of 42 kDa (referred to as G-actin). To form part of the cytoskeleton, actin polymerizes into long filaments (referred to as F-actin). Any degradation or abnormal proteolysis of actin protein could therefore have dramatic consequences on the ability of an immune cell to perform its normal function, especially if that function required motility (e.g., phagocytosis). In PBMCs from patients with CFS, fragmentation of actin was detected. The amount of fragmentation correlated significantly with the amount of fragmentation of RNase L protein (p < 0.001, n = 62 specimens).

Researchers then examined the serum for actin protein fragments. Normally, actin is released into the serum as a consequence of cell turnover and/or necrosis and is cleared from circulation by the vitamin D-binding protein (also referred to as the group-specific component, or Gc)(6). Native actin protein binds to the vitamin D-binding protein through actin's C-terminal amino acid structure. However, the intracellular cleavage of actin results in fragments that do not contain the identical C-terminal structure and thus these fragments are not cleared as rapidly from the serum. Levels of actin protein fragmentation in serum correlates significantly with the amount of both intracellular actin- and RNase L- fragmentation (p < 0.01, n = 175)(7)




Quantitative Measurement of RNase L Proteins: The Confirmatory Test to Aid in the Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome



In 1995, Dr. Robert Suhadolnik and his co-workers at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, detected a novel intracellular protein related to RNase L, one of the interferon-inducible enzymes. These enzymes, which also include 2'-5' Oligoadenylate Synthetase, and double-stranded RNA dependent Protein Kinase, play a key role in protecting the cell from viral infection.(2,3) The novel protein was determined to have a molecular weight of approximately half of the native RNase L (and is thus referred to as the Low Molecular Weight RNase L or 'LMW,' while the native RNase L protein is referred to as the High Molecular Weight (HMW) species).

Working together with clinicians Daniel Peterson and Paul Cheney, Dr. Suhadolnik was able to demonstrate the presence of this LMW protein in a subset of patients with CFS.(4,5) His findings were independently confirmed by Dr. Bernard Lebleu, at the Institute for Genetic Molecular Medicine, Montpellier University, Montpellier, France, working together with clinician Kenny De Meirleir at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium.(6)




Detection of Mycoplasma Infection. Using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Technique



A number of recent publications in the medical literature have reported an increased incidence of Mycoplasma infection in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).4,5 While chronic fatigue is reported by 20% of all patients seeking medical care, CFS is distinguishable as a separate syndrome based on established medical criteria, the hallmark of which is chronic, debilitating fatigue of six months or more in duration.6 Patients with CFS also suffer from a number of physical problems including myalgia, arthralgia, low grade fever, enlarged lymph nodes, cognitive impairment, and sleep disorders. Although it remains unclear as to whether or not infection with Mycoplasma is causal, opportunistic, or a co-factor of the morbidity observed in patients with CFS, it is important to distinguish this group of patients as treatment of this or any underlying infection must be considered in the overall therapeutic strategy.