Article Index


Allergy-related immune signatures and duration of CFS/ME

Susan Levine (Columbia, USA) discussed allergy-related immune signatures and the duration of illness in CFS/ME. She discussed the importance of allergy mediators and links between IL-4 and IL-13 (both produced by TH-2 cells), and IL-17 produced by TH-17 cells, IL-10 produced by CD4 TH-2 cells and eoxtaxin produced in asthmatics.

For her study, she divided patients into groups with recent and longer lasting illness (less than or greater than 3 years). Unique immune signatures were found in short duration patients. Higher levels of cytokines associated with the allergic response were found in short duration patients compared to the longer duration patients. A TH-2 shift was supported. She stressed the need for future studies to include measures of histamine levels, total and specific IgE, prostaglandin E2, tryptophan and serotonin.

Plasma cytokines and exercise in CFS/ME

Ludovic Giloteaux (New York, USA) reported on his study of plasma cytokines in patients before and after a cardiopulmonary exercise test. Tests were done 24 hours apart. Baseline VO2-max was compared with healthy controls. There was a significant difference. The difference was also more significant after the 2nd test. Cytokines were measured at baseline and after exercise. There were no significant differences in cytokines between CFS/ME and healthy controls, but the chemokine IP-10 decreased significantly after exercise in the CFS/ME group. Results implied an abnormal immune response with immune suppression.

NK-cell degranulated related to release of lytic proteins?

Tellah Huth (Gold Coast, Australia) presented on Natural Killer (NK) cell degranulation and lytic proteins in CFS/ME. She looked at 2 natural killer cells: CD-56 and CD-16, both involved in cytotoxic lysis. She explained how granzymes and perforin are involved in the secretory pathway to the target cell. In CFS/ME there is significant reduction in Granzyme B, which when elevated inhibits the pathogenic activation signals. When down, there is delayed target cell apoptosis. Her results showed decrease in Granzyme B is CFS/ME patients. This may contribute to reduced NK-cell activity seen in CFS/ME. Further studies are needed to determine if there is a link between dysfunctional NK cell degranulation and release of lytic proteins.

Shorter telomere lenght in CFS/ME

Mangalathu Rajeevan (Atlanta, USA) then discussed a genome-wide analysis of differential methylation associated with CFS/ME. His results concluded that this differentiation was identified in CFS/ME, but only TERT was correlated with a corresponding change in gene expression. There was decreased methylation in CFS/ME, and increased expression of TERT, with shorter telomere length. Telomeres (the ends of chromosomes) are shorter in CFS/ME than in controls. Short telomeres are a marker for aging.