Cytokine profiles of chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis patients.
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Aims Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are both disorders with severe neuroimmune symptoms, including cognitive impairment, immune dysfunction and abnormal cytokine expression. The purpose of this study was to assess the T helper (Th) 1, Th2 and Th17 cytokine profiles of CFS and MS patients. Methods This study measured the cytokine profiles of CFS patients (n = 16; mean age 49.88, SD 9.542), MS patients (n = 16; mean age 52.75, SD 12.809) and healthy controls (n = 16; mean age 50.06, SD 11.846). The diagnostic selection method used to identify CFS patients was the International Consensus Criteria. Cytokines were measured from serum using a Bio-Plex Pro™ kit for Th1 (IFN-γ, TNF-α), Th2 (IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13) and Th17 (IL-17) cell cytokines. Results When the three groups were compared, it was found that TNF-α (p = 0.011, p = 0.012), IL-4 (p = 0.000, p = 0.000), IL-6 (p = 0.039, p = 0.031), IL-13 (p = 0.000, p = 0.000) and IL-17 (p = 0.004, p = 0.038) were all significantly higher in MS patients compared with CFS patients and controls respectively. However, in the MS patients and CFS patients, serum levels of IL-13 and IFN-γ were significantly higher (p ⩽ 0.001) compared with the controls. IFN-γ was significantly different between MS and CFS (p = 0.001), with MS exhibiting higher IFN-γ serum levels. Conclusion Cytokines patterns supported both Th1 and Th2 cytokine profiles in CFS and MS. Similarities in the cytokine profiles of MS and CFS, combined with the already acknowledged similarities in immune cell function and symptoms, suggests a neuroimmune pathology for CFS with parallels to that of MS. Additional studies into the cytokine profiles of both CFS and MS should be conducted, with larger sample sizes, to further expand the understanding of the pathologies of both disorders.
Medical and Health Sciences