This study aimed to determine the influence of autoantibodies, polymorphisms in the serotonin pathway, and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II genes on:
• Age at chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) onset
• And symptoms.
Eighty-one CFS patients were enrolled, and clinical data were recorded. Autoantibodies to different components of the central nervous system were tested. Polymorphisms in the promoter of the serotonin transporter gene (l/s) and a single nucleotide polymorphism in the serotonin receptor-2A gene (A/G) as well as HLA class II alleles were determined. Multivariate logistic-regression analyses were carried out. [Note: An allele is one of a number of alternative forms of the same gene at a given position on a chromosome. Polymorphisms refer to expression of different alleles in a population.]
• The mean [average] age at CFS onset +/- SD was 33.5 +/- 12.5 years.
• An age at CFS onset (ACFSO) during the third decade of life [20 to 30] was associated with the serotonin receptor AA genotype and the HLA-DRB1*03 allele.
• An ACFSO during the fourth decade of life [30 to 40] was associated with the HLA-DRB1*07 allele,
• Whereas an ACFSO of 43 years or older was associated with having at least one copy of the serotonin G allele.
Concerning CFS symptoms:
• The serotonin AG genotype was protective against depressive symptoms.
• Although having at least one copy of the serotonin A allele and being female were associated with risk for arthralgia [joint pain],
• The presence of antineuronal cell antibodies was protective against this.
• Episodes of unexplained fever were associated with the HLA-DRB1*11 allele.
• None of the genetic or serological features was associated with myalgia [muscle pain].
• None of the antibodies determined correlated with any ACFSO or other symptoms.
Our results reveal that in CFS, like other autoimmune diseases, different genetic features are related to age at CFS onset and symptoms.
Source: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Sep 2009;1173:589-99. PMID: 19758204, by Ortega-Hernandez OD, Cuccia M, Bozzini S, Bassi N, Moscavitch S, Diaz-Gallo LM, Blank M, Agmon-Levin N, Shoenfeld Y. Department of Medicine "B" and Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. [E-mail: Shoenfel@post.tau.ac.il]