Immune Problems Differ in More Severely Ill Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients


Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
To me this just demonstrates how complex the immune system is...Two immune factors were decreased in more severely ill patients and three were increased. The levels in general were not very high or low: "In the current study, cytokine levels were marginally above those typically observed in human serum". I really don't know that measuring cytokines in the blood is going to do it...

Int J Med Sci. 2015 Sep 5;12(10):764-72. doi: 10.7150/ijms.12399. eCollection 2015. Serum Immune Proteins in Moderate and Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patients. Hardcastle SL1, Brenu EW1, Johnston S1, Nguyen T1, Huth T1, Ramos S1, Staines D1, Marshall-Gradisnik S1.
Author information

  • 1National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, 9.22, G40 Griffith Health Institute, School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Parklands Drive, 4222, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

Immunological dysregulation is present in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), with recent studies also highlighting the importance of examining symptom severity. This research addressed this relationship between CFS/ME severity subgroups, assessing serum immunoglobulins and serum cytokines in severe and moderate CFS/ME patients. Participants included healthy controls (n= 22), moderately (n = 22) and severely (n=19) affected CFS/ME patients. The 1994 Fukuda Criteria defined CFS/ME and severity scales confirmed mobile and housebound CFS/ME patients as moderate and severe respectively.

Increased in less severely ill patients

  • IL-1β was significantly reduced in severe compared with moderate CFS/ME patients.
  • RANTES was significantly increased in moderate CFS/ME patients compared to severe CFS/ME patients.

Increased in more severely ill patients

  • IL-6 was significantly decreased in moderate CFS/ME patients compared with healthy controls and severe CFS/ME patients.
  • Serum IL-7 and IL-8 were significantly higher in the severe CFS/ME group compared with healthy controls and moderate CFS/ME patients.
  • IFN-γ was significantly increased in severe CFS/ME patients compared with moderately affected patients.

This was the first study to show cytokine variation in moderate and severe CFS/ME patients, with significant differences shown between CFS/ME symptom severity groups. This research suggests that distinguishing severity subgroups in CFS/ME research settings may allow for a more stringent analysis of the heterogeneous and otherwise inconsistent illness.

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