Article Index

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.