[Note: The full text PDF of this article is available at no charge HERE. Giardia is an intestinal protozoan found in natural waterways that sometimes contaminates public water supplies, as it did in the major Bergen outbreak of 2004. The ability to follow the health status of a group of people with well-documented history of giardia infection has highlighted the possibility of post-infective GI disease and CFS & allows analysis of associated factors.]
Background: A Giardia outbreak was associated with development of post-infectious functional gastrointestinal disorders (PI-FGID) and chronic fatigue syndrome (PI-CFS). Markers of immune dysfunction have given conflicting results in CFS and FGID patient populations. The aim of this study was to evaluate a wide selection of markers of immune dysfunction in these two co-occurring post-infectious syndromes.
Methods: 48 patients, reporting chronic fatigue in a questionnaire study, were clinically evaluated five years after the outbreak and grouped according to Fukuda criteria for CFS (n=19) and idiopathic chronic fatigue (n=5) and Rome II criteria for FGIDs (n=54). 22 Giardia exposed non-fatigued individuals and 10 healthy unexposed individuals were recruited as controls. Peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results: In peripheral blood we found significantly higher CD8 T-cell levels in PI-FGID, and significantly lower NK-cell levels in PI-CFS patients. Severity of abdominal and fatigue symptoms correlated negatively with NK-cell levels. A tendency towards lower T-cell CD26 expression in FGID was seen.
Conclusion: Patients with PI-CFS and/or PI-FGID 5 years after Giardia lamblia infection showed alterations in NK-cell and CD8-cell populations suggesting a possible immunological abnormality in these conditions. We found no significant changes in other markers examined in this well-defined group of PI-CFS and PI-FGID elicited by a gastrointestinal infection. Controlling for co-morbid conditions is important in evaluation of CFS-biomarkers.
Source: BMC Infectious Diseases, Oct 14 2012;12(1):258. PMID:23061432 Hanevik K, Kristoffersen EK, Sørnes S, Mørch K, Næss H, Rivenes AC, Bødtker JE, Hausken T, Langeland N. University of Bergen; Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.