TGI Friday! Our weekly round-up of recently published research abstracts | 20 September 2013

From Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, 11 September 2013 2013 [Epub ahead of print].

Cytokines do not change after exercise or sleep deprivation in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Nakamura T, Schwander S, Donnelly R, Cook DB, Ortega F, Togo F, Yamamoto Y, Cherniack NS, Klapholz M, Rapoport D, Natelson BH.
Pain & Fatigue Study Center, Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, Suite 4, Beth Israel Medical Center, 10 Union Square East,New York, NY 10003-3314

Abstract

A major hypothesis for the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is immune dysregulation, thought to reflect upregulated pro-inflammatory cytokines leading to the symptoms characteristic of this illness. Because symptoms worsen with physical exertion or sleep loss, we hypothesized we could use these stressors to magnify underlying
potential pathogenic abnormalities in the cytokine systems.

We conducted repeated blood sampling for cytokines from healthy subjects and CFS patients during a post-exercise and total sleep deprivation night, and assayed for protein in serum, message in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), and function in resting and stimulated PBLs.

We found that these environmental manipulations did not produce clinically significant upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These data do not support an important role for immune dysregulation in the genesis or stress-induced worsening of this illness.


From Metabolic Brain Disease, September 2013.

Mitochondrial dysfunctions in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome explained by activated immuno-inflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative stress pathways

Gerwyn Morris and Michael Maes

Abstract

Myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/cfs) is classified by the World Health Organization as a disorder of the central nervous system. ME/cfs is an neuro-immune disorder accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation, increased levels of oxidative and nitrosative stress (O&NS), O&NS-mediated damage to fatty acids, DNA and proteins, autoimmune reactions directed against neoantigens and brain disorders.

Mitochondrial dysfunctions have been found in ME/cfs, e.g. lowered ATP production, impaired oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial damage. This paper reviews the pathways that may explain mitochondrial dysfunctions in ME/cfs. Increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-a, and elastase, and increased O&NS may inhibit mitochondrial respiration, decrease the activities of the electron transport chain and mitochondrial membrane potential, increase mitochondrial membrane permeability, interfere with ATP production and cause mitochondrial shutdown.

The activated O&NS pathways may additionally lead to damage of mitochondrial DNA and membranes thus decreasing membrane fluidity. Lowered levels of antioxidants, zinc and coenzyme Q10, and Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in ME/cfs may further aggravate the activated immuno-inflammatory and O&NS pathways.

Therefore, it may be concluded that immuno-inflammatory and O&NS pathways may play a role in the mitochondrial dysfunctions and consequently the bioenergetic abnormalities seen in patients with ME/cfs. Defects in ATP production and the electron transport complex, in turn, are associated with an elevated production of superoxide and hydrogen peroxide in mitochondria creating adaptive and synergistic damage.

It is argued that mitochondrial dysfunctions, e.g. lowered ATP production, may play a role in the onset of ME/cfs symptoms, e.g. fatigue and post exertional malaise, and may explain in part the central metabolic abnormalities observed in ME/cfs, e.g. glucose hypometabolism and cerebral hypoperfusion.


From BMC Medicine, 17 September 2013.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and encephalomyelitis disseminata/multiple sclerosis show remarkable levels of similarity in phenomenology and neuroimmune characteristics

Gerwyn Morris(1,2,*) and Michael Maes(2,3)
Corresponding author: Gerwyn Morris activatedmicroglia@gmail.com
1) Tir Na Nog, Pembrey, Llanelli, UK
2) Department of Psychiatry, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
3) Department of Psychiatry, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

Abstract

BACKGROUND

‘Encephalomyelitis disseminata’ (multiple sclerosis) and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) are both classified as diseases of the central nervous system by the World Health Organization. This review aims to compare the phenomenological and neuroimmune characteristics of MS with those of ME/CFS.

DISCUSSION

There are remarkable phenomenological and neuroimmune overlaps between both disorders. Patients with ME/CFS and MS both experience severe levels of disabling fatigue and a worsening of symptoms following exercise and resort to energy conservation strategies in an attempt to meet the energy demands of day-to-day living.

Debilitating autonomic symptoms, diminished cardiac responses to exercise, orthostatic intolerance and postural hypotension are experienced by patients with both illnesses. Both disorders show a relapsing-remitting or progressive course, while infections and psychosocial stress play a large part in worsening of fatigue symptoms. Activated immunoinflammatory, oxidative and nitrosative (O+NS) pathways and autoimmunity occur in both illnesses.

The consequences of O+NS damage to self-epitopes is evidenced by the almost bewildering and almost identical array of autoantibodies formed against damaged epitopes seen in both illnesses. Mitochondrial dysfunctions, including lowered levels of ATP, decreased phosphocreatine synthesis and impaired oxidative phosphorylation, are heavily involved in the pathophysiology of both MS and ME/CFS.

The findings produced by neuroimaging techniques are quite similar in both illnesses and show decreased cerebral blood flow, atrophy, gray matter reduction, white matter hyperintensities, increased cerebral lactate and choline signaling and lowered acetyl-aspartate levels.

SUMMARY

This review shows that there are neuroimmune similarities between MS and ME/CFS. This further substantiates the view that ME/CFS is a neuroimmune illness and that patients with MS are immunologically primed to develop symptoms of ME/CFS.

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