- Last Updated: 25 November 2015 25 November 2015
Immunological abnormalities in CFS
Dr. Komaroff then shifted his focus to the immune system and its role in CFS. He mentioned four different CFS immunological abnormalities in particular:
1. Increased number of CD8+ “cytotoxic” T cells bearing activation markers (CD38 +, HLA-DR). This type of white blood cell normally attacks viruses.
2. Poorly functioning natural killer (NK) cells—this immune cell attacks viral infections.
3. Upregulation of the 2,5-A system [RNase-L]—this anti-viral system in cells turns on when an RNA virus is present and this occurs more often in CFS than in healthy controls, but not in all CFS patients.
4. Increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines—these immunological molecules are found to be significantly elevated in CFS patients at certain times, for example, during a bout with an infectious agent. Cytokines are small proteins involved in the intercellular signaling that ultimately generates an immune response. Interestingly, it is this process that actually makes people feel so sick and not the infectious agent itself.