Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)–a controlled cross sectional study

OBJECTIVE. To look for signs of immunodeficiencies and/or

longstanding infections underlying chronic fatigue syndrome


METHODS. Twenty-one patients fulfilling the Centers for

Disease Control criteria for CFS were compared to 21 age and

sex matched controls. A number of viral antibodies as well as

the following tests evaluating the immune system were studied:

autoantibody profile, cell surface markers on isolated blood

mononuclear cells, cytokine production, lymphocyte

proliferative responses, natural killer cell activity and

quantitation of immunoglobulin secreting cells.


Production in vitro of the predominantly T cell derived

cytokines interleukin 2 and interferon gamma was significantly

higher in patients with CFS compared to the control group.

Furthermore, the serum concentrations of IgA and IgE were

lower in patients with CFS; however, this difference was

caused by a larger number with values of IgA and IgE above the

upper limit of the normal range among the controls than among

the patients with CFS. All other variables were similar in the

2 groups.

CONCLUSION. A pathogenically significant imbalance of the

immune system in patients with CFS cannot be excluded.

However, evidence of a causal link between abnormal immunity

and CFS was not obtained.

Rasmussen AK, Nielsen H, Andersen V, Barington T, Bendtzen K, Hansen

MB, Nielsen L, Pedersen BK, Wiik A

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