Analysis of the Relationship between Immune Dysfunction and Symptom Severity in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)
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Objective: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a disabling illness, characterised by persistent, debilitating fatigue and a multitude of symptoms. Immunological alterations are prominent in CFS/ME cases, however little is known about the relationship between CFS/ME severity and the extent of immunological dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to assess innate and adaptive immune cell phenotypes and function of two groups of CFS/ME patients, bedridden (severe) and mobile (moderate). Methods: CFS/ME participants were defined using the Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (1994 CDC) Criteria for CFS/ME. Participants were grouped into healthy controls (n=22, age=40.14 ᠲ.38), moderate/ mobile (n=23; age=42.52 ᠲ.63) and severe/bedridden (n=18; age=39.56 ᠱ.51) CFS/ME patients. Flow cytometric protocols were used to examine neutrophil, monocyte, dendritic cells (DCs), iNKT, Treg, B, ?d and CD8+ T cell phenotypes, NK cytotoxic activity and receptors. Results: The present data found that CFS/ME patients demonstrated significant decreases in NK cytotoxic activity, transitional and regulatory B cells, ?d1T cells, KIR2DL1/DS1, CD94+ and KIR2DL2/L3. Significant increases in CD56- CD16+NKs, CD56dimCD16- and CD56brightCD16-/dim NKs, DCs, iNKT phenotypes, memory and naive B cells were also shown in CFS/ME participants. Severe CFS/ME patients demonstrated increased CD14- CD16+ DCs, memory and naﶥ B cells, total iNKT, iNKT cell and NK phenotypes compared to moderate CFS/ME patients. Conclusion: This study is the first to determine alterations in NK, iNKT, B, DC and ?d T cell phenotypes in both moderate and severe CFS/ME patients. Immunological alterations are present in innate and adaptive immune cells and sometimes, immune deregulation appears worse in CFS/ME patients with more severe symptoms. It may be appropriate for CFS/ME patient severity subgroups to be distinguished in both clinical and research settings to extricate further immunological pathologies that may not have been previously reported.
Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology
© 2014 Hardcastle SL, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.