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Cellular Immune Function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Cliff, JM; King, EC; Lee, J-S; Sepúlveda, N; Wolf, A-S; Kingdon, C; Bowman, E; ... Riley, EM; + view all (2019) Cellular Immune Function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Frontiers in Immunology , 10 , Article 796. 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00796. Green open access

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Abstract

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a debilitating condition with unknown aetiology, Myalgic encephalomyelitis unclear pathophysiology and with no diagnostic test or biomarker available. Many patients report their ME/CFS began after an acute infection, and subsequent increased frequency of infections, such as colds or influenza, is common. These factors imply an altered immunological status exists in ME/CFS, in at least a proportion of patients, yet previous studies of peripheral immunity have been discrepant and inconclusive. The UK ME/CFS Biobank, which has collected blood samples from nearly 300 clinically-confirmed ME/CFS patients, enables large-scale studies of immunological function in phenotypically well-characterised participants. In this study, herpes virus serological status and T cell, B cell, NK cell and monocyte populations were investigated in 251 ME/CFS patients, including 54 who were severely affected, and compared with those from 107 healthy participants and with 46 patients with Multiple Sclerosis. There were no differences in seroprevalence for six human herpes viruses between ME/CFS and healthy controls, although seroprevalence for the Epstein-Barr virus was higher in multiple sclerosis patients. Contrary to previous reports, no significant differences were observed in NK cell numbers, subtype proportions or in vitro responsiveness between ME/CFS patients and healthy control participants. In contrast, the T cell compartment was altered in ME/CFS, with increased proportions of effector memory CD8+ T cells and decreased proportions of terminally differentiated effector CD8+ T cells. Conversely, there was a significantly increased proportion of mucosal associated invariant T cells (MAIT) cells, especially in severely affected ME/CFS patients. These abnormalities demonstrate that an altered immunological state does exist in ME/CFS, particularly in severely affected people. This may simply reflect ongoing or recent infection, or may indicate future increased susceptibility to infection. Longitudinal studies of ME/CFS patients are needed to help to determine cause and effect and thus any potential benefits of immuno-modulatory treatments for ME/CFS.

Type: Article
Title: Cellular Immune Function in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.00796
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00796
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, natural killer cells, T cell differentiation, MAIT cells, herpes viruses
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080411
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