TGI Friday! Our regular round-up of research abstracts, 17 February 2012

February 17, 2012

Our weekly roundup of research abstracts that have not already appeared on the MEA website.

Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2011;38(4):412-3.

Sympathetic neural hyperalgesia edema syndrome, a frequent cause of pelvic pain in women, mistaken for Lyme disease with chronic fatigue.

Check JH, Cohen R.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Camden, NJ, USA.


PURPOSE: To show that chronic fatigue syndrome can be mistakenly attributed to Lyme disease rather than considering sympathetic neural hyperalgesia edema syndrome. This common disorder of women, frequently, but not always causing pelvic pain, can present simply as chronic fatigue.

METHODS: A water load test was performed in a woman reactive for B-Burgdorferi with chronic fatigue whose symptoms did not improve despite three months of treatment with doxycycline. A water load test was performed.

RESULTS: She failed the water load test by excreting only 50% ingested load standing for four hours. She showed marked improvement following treatment with dextroamphetamine sulfate.

CONCLUSIONS: This very treatable disorder of the sympathetic nervous system should be considered in women with an unknown cause of chronic fatigue or if the symptoms persist despite treatment of another potential cause.

Trends Microbiol. 2011 Nov;19(11):525-9. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

Xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV) does not cause chronic fatigue.

Robinson MJ, Erlwein O, McClure MO.

Section of Infectious Diseases, Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, London, W2 1PG, UK.


The xenotropic murine leukaemia virus-related virus (XMRV), a gammaretrovirus, was discovered in prostate cancer tumours by Virochip technology in 2006. It was subsequently detected in chronic fatigue patients in 2009. The association between XMRV and chronic fatigue has proved to be controversial. No study has confirmed these findings and many have refuted them. Here, we present the evidence for our contention that XMRV is not a human pathogen.

Fam Pract. 2011 Oct;28(5):572-8. Epub 2011 May 9.

Patients' hopes and expectations of a specialist chronic fatigue syndrome/ME service: a qualitative study.

McDermott C, Lynch J, Leydon GM.

Primary Medical Care Research Department, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.


BACKGROUND: The 2007 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) recommend early management of the condition. Investment by the Department of Health has expanded the number of specialist U.K. CFS/ME services but there has been little research on what patients hope or expect from referral.

METHODS: A qualitative study exploring hopes and expectations of patients newly referred to a CFS/ME Service in the South of England. Interviews with 20 patients were analysed using the constant comparative method.

RESULTS: Participants hoped referral to a specialist service would clarify diagnosis, give guidance and support, assist in understanding the complexity of the illness and provide hope for the future. While many participants valued the support of their GP, all viewed referral as offering a level of specialist expertise beyond that available in primary care. Many participants expressed high levels of uncertainty about the nature of CFS/ME. While participants hoped that the service would be able to provide information and guidance, many expressed the view that more information earlier in their illness would make the waiting period less stressful and make it possible for them to do more to help themselves.

CONCLUSIONS: GP referral to a specialist service appeared to be highly valued by the participants in this study. The levels of uncertainty expressed by many patients about the nature of CFS/ME raises the issue of the role of information on CFS/ME during the early stages of the illness and suggests a need for more reassurance and positive advice during the waiting period.

J Clin Immunol. 2011 Aug;31(4):584-7. Epub 2011 Apr 21

Xenotropic murine leukemia virus- related virus (XMRV) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

Balada E, Castro-Marrero J, Felip L, Vilardell-Tarrés M, Ordi-Ros J.
Research Unit in Systemic Autoimmune Diseases, Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


OBJECTIVES: Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV)-specific proviral DNA has been recently detected in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Since chronic fatigue is commonly reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) we aimed at testing the presence of this virus in these patients.

METHODS: Ninety-five SLE patients, 45 of whom had a Fatigue Severity Scale score higher than 3, were included. Molecular analyses were performed by PCR from DNA obtained from the whole blood of both SLE patients and 50 healthy controls.

RESULTS: None of the 145 samples analyzed yielded the specific XMRV PCR product.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that XMRV is not detected in blood neither from SLE patients nor from healthy controls. It leads to infer that other environmental and biological triggers (different from XMRV) may account for the increased levels of fatigue over the course of SLE.

4 thoughts on “TGI Friday! Our regular round-up of research abstracts, 17 February 2012”

  1. Another piece of research also of interest to many with a ME/CFS diagnosis.
    Research Article
    Course of Antibody Response in Lyme Borreliosis Patients before and after Therapy
    Elisabeth Aberer1 and Gerold Schwantzer2
    1Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 8, 8036 Graz, Austria
    2Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Documentation, Graz, Medical University of Graz, 8036 Graz, Austria

    Received 27 September 2011; Accepted 27 October 2011

    Academic Editors: A. Clayton and S. Devi

    Copyright © 2012 Elisabeth Aberer and Gerold Schwantzer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    The early immune response (IR) in European Lyme borreliosis patients has not yet been studied in detail. The aim of the study was to analyse retrospectively the antibody development in 61 erythema migrans (EMs) patients depending on the duration of infection from tick bite by using a whole-cell lysate B. garinii immunoblot. The evolution of antibodies proved to be undulatory in untreated patients with two peaks for IgM at weeks 5 and 9 and for IgG at weeks 4 and 8. The analysis of IR courses after therapy identified patients constantly seropositive or seronegative and patients with repeated seroconversions with a switch, disappearance, or reappearance of anti-23 kD or anti-39 kD antibodies during the one-year period. We suggest that the antibody production in EM patients may be missed due to an undulatory IR. This phenomenon might be an as yet insufficiently researched aspect in Lyme borreliosis.

  2. Another piece of research

    omp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print]
    Estimating Lyme disease risk using pet dogs as sentinels.
    Smith FD, Ballantyne R, Morgan ER, Wall R.
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.
    The reported number of cases of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is thought to have increased in the UK over the past decade, but consistent surveillance data are lacking. Here the prevalence of B. burgdorferi in ticks attached to pet dogs was examined – using them as sentinels for human disease risk. Dogs give a good indication of the exposure of their human owners to infected ticks, since they largely share the same environment and visit the same outdoor areas. PCR was used to test 739 tick samples collected from 3534 dogs selected at random as they visited veterinary practices over a period of six months. Overall, the prevalence of infected ticks on all dogs was 0.5% giving an estimated 481 infected ticks per 100,000 dogs. The data suggest that the prevalence of Borrelia in the UK tick population is considerably higher than most recent estimates indicate.


    Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Rhesus Macaques following Antibiotic Treatment of Disseminated Infection
    ArticleMetricsRelated ContentComments: 3
    Monica E. Embers1*, Stephen W. Barthold4, Juan T. Borda2, Lisa Bowers1, Lara Doyle3, Emir Hodzic4, Mary B. Jacobs1, Nicole R. Hasenkampf1, Dale S. Martin1, Sukanya Narasimhan5, Kathrine M. Phillippi-Falkenstein3, Jeanette E. Purcell3¤, Marion S. Ratterree3, Mario T. Philipp1*
    1 Divisions of Bacteriology & Parasitology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Covington, Louisiana, United States of America, 2 Comparative Pathology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Covington, Louisiana, United States of America, 3 Veterinary Medicine, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Covington, Louisiana, United States of America, 4 Center for Comparative Medicine, Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America, 5 Section of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America
    Abstract Top
    The persistence of symptoms in Lyme disease patients following antibiotic therapy, and their causes, continue to be a matter of intense controversy. The studies presented here explore antibiotic efficacy using nonhuman primates. Rhesus macaques were infected with B. burgdorferi and a portion received aggressive antibiotic therapy 4–6 months later. Multiple methods were utilized for detection of residual organisms, including the feeding of lab-reared ticks on monkeys (xenodiagnosis), culture, immunofluorescence and PCR. Antibody responses to the B. burgdorferi-specific C6 diagnostic peptide were measured longitudinally and declined in all treated animals. B. burgdorferi antigen, DNA and RNA were detected in the tissues of treated animals. Finally, small numbers of intact spirochetes were recovered by xenodiagnosis from treated monkeys. These results demonstrate that B. burgdorferi can withstand antibiotic treatment, administered post-dissemination, in a primate host. Though B. burgdorferi is not known to possess resistance mechanisms and is susceptible to the standard antibiotics (doxycycline, ceftriaxone) in vitro, it appears to become tolerant post-dissemination in the primate host. This finding raises important questions about the pathogenicity of antibiotic-tolerant persisters and whether or not they can contribute to symptoms post-treatment.

    Citation: Embers ME, Barthold SW, Borda JT, Bowers L, Doyle L, et al. (2012) Persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi in Rhesus Macaques following Antibiotic Treatment of Disseminated Infection. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29914. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029914

    Editor: Jean Louis Herrmann, Hopital Raymond Poincare – Universite Versailles St. Quentin, France

    Received: July 22, 2011; Accepted: December 6, 2011; Published: January 11, 2012

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