Charlotte Stephens, ME Association, 17 August, 2018.
In this summary research review, we take a look at the mounting evidence for abnormal Natural Killer cell function in ME/CFS and explain what these important guardians of the immune system should be doing to help protect the body from invasion, and what it might mean when they are dysfunctional.
A recent and relatively large study from Spain has added to our understanding of NK cell involvement. We explain what the study has found and examine what it might mean in terms of the underlying disease process(es) in ME/CFS, and as a biomarker which would help in the development of a diagnostic test that could lead to an eventual treatment. We also review what they discovered about viral involvement in ME/CFS.
“This is by no means the first study to find Natural Killer (NK) cell abnormalities; there have been several, dating back to 1987. In fact, reduced NK cell function seems to be one of the most consistent findings of immune system dysfunction in ME/CFS.
“However, this latest study is different in that it is much larger than previous efforts (149 participants, compared to 28-70 participants in previous studies)…
“NK cell abnormalities may one day help confirm a diagnosis and they also add to the evidence of immune dysfunction. Research evidence also supports the notion of distinct subgroups under the ME/CFS umbrella who may present with potentially different pathologies…
The ME Association
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