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Explaining ME/CFS as immune system’s ‘Pavlov’ response to persistent EBV

  [ 23 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • August 10, 2012

Can persistent Epstein-Barr virus infection induce chronic fatigue syndrome as a Pavlov reflex of the immune response?
– Source: Journal of Biological Dynamics, Jan 2012 (final version of record online Jul 16, 2012)

By Elena Agliari, et al.

[Note: To view the free full text of this article proposing a unifying theory of the etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), CLICK HERE. The article includes some intriguing, plain-language background sections and some very complex, formula-heavy statistical sections. The ‘Pavlov’ response refers to how physiological responses can become conditioned to occur without the initial stimulus - e.g., Pavlov's dogs salivating at the sound of a bell that once accompanied feeding time.]

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a protracted illness condition (lasting even years) appearing with strong flu symptoms and systemic defiances by the immune system.

• Here, by means of statistical mechanics techniques, we study the most widely accepted picture for its genesis, namely a persistent acute mononucleosis infection,

• And we show how such infection may drive the immune system towards an out-of-equilibrium metastable state displaying chronic activation of both humoral and cellular responses (a state of full inflammation without a direct 'causes-effect' reason).

By exploiting a bridge with a neural scenario, we mirror killer lymphocytes T(K) and B cells to neurons and helper lymphocytes

[Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] to synapses, hence showing that the immune system may experience the Pavlov conditional reflex phenomenon:

• If the exposition to a stimulus (Epstein-Barr virus antigens) lasts for too long,

• Strong internal correlations among B cells, killer lymphocyte T(K) and T(H) may develop

• Ultimately resulting in a persistent activation even though the stimulus itself is removed.

These outcomes are corroborated by several experimental findings.

Source: Journal of Biological Dynamics, Mar 2012;6(2):740-62 – full text of record online Jul 16, 2012. PMID:22873615, by Agliari E, Barra A, Vidal KG, Guerra F. Dipartimento di Fisica, Università degli Studi di Parma, Parma, Italy. [Email:]

Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

This was disproved in the 1980's
Posted by: spacee
Aug 10, 2012
Dr. Steven Straus was most unhappy for it to be disproved and began cursing when he read
the report.

Yet, I do have hope that we have better testing available in the 21st century. And that some
help for those who need it comes from the testing.
Reply Reply

Good News/Bad News
Posted by: Mikie
Aug 31, 2012
The good news is that if anyone ever finds the mechanism of our immune systems' overreaction to one infection, it may explain how our immune systems overreact to other infections. The bad news is that not everyone with our illnesses had them triggered by the EBV. My own illness was triggered full blown my a mycoplasma infaction. Most of us have had an EBV infection or been exposed to it. It never goes away so it is possible that EBV sets us up for our illnesses; however, I believe there is a genetic factor which might help explain why we overreact to pathogens.

Love, Mikie
Reply Reply
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