Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Latest research in immunology

Session 5

The immunological profile of an Australian CFS female population was presented by Ekua Brenu (Gold Coast, Australia). She noted a 0.2% prevalence of CFS is Australia, with $A59 million per annum spent in the management of CFS. Blood samples were taken from 8 CFS patients and 8 controls. Neutrophil function was studied with respect to respiratory burst and phagocytic activity. CFS patients demonstrated significant decrease in respiratory burst, but increased phagocytic activity did not attain significance. T-cells, B-cells and monocytes were observed in patients and controls.

Christopher Snell (Stockton, USA) did not find that either RNaseL ratio or elastase have any efficacy as biomarkers for CFS. There was high variability for both measures in CFS and controls, and these levels may be influenced by factors other than illness. RNaseL activity may not be unique to CFS.

Gordon Broderick (Edmonton, Canada) found that subjects with Gulf War Illness (GWI) can be discriminated by demonstrating significantly different neuro-endocrine-immune dynamics in response to exercise. Changes in cytokines, NPY and cortisol are evident both at rest and much more so under challenge, and could separate subjects completely from the control group.

Subgrouping of CFS patients was addressed by Vincent Lombardi (Reno, USA) looking at cytokine and chemokine profiles. He used microarray, a Random Forest computational program, to delineate CFS patients from healthy controls. Each subgroup was found to display a unique cytokine/chemokine signature. This has potential to subgroup patients using serum biomarkers in an approach to appropriate treatments. (Anti-inflammatory, antiviral or antimicrobial).

Nancy Klimas (Miami, USA) has found that cytokine abnormalities are common in CFS, with potential as biomarkers or targets for treatment strategies. Cost effectiveness with newer techniques should make these tests more readily available to evaluate a large panel of cytokines. The study presented demonstrated a disorganized pattern of the cytokines regulating TH-1 dependent lymphocyte function, critical to antiviral defense. The data supports a TH-2 shift, pro-inflammatory cytokine cascade activation and down regulation of components of cytotoxic cell function.

Nicole Porter (Chicago, USA) showed the importance of looking at viral versus non-viral onset in CFS, with differences in cytokine production and expression. In the viral group there was TH-1 shift and in the non-viral group a TH-2 shift. Viral and bacterial onset patients should be separated in future studies. A pattern of protein production in the non-viral group is likely to be immune cell-mediated anti-inflammatory activity with chronic suppression of immune system activation. In the viral group, there is pro-inflammatory activation with persistent hyper-immune response.

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.