Decreased natural killer cell activity is associated with severity of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome

Natural killer (NK) cell activity was measured blindly in

vitro with blood specimens from 50 healthy individuals and 20

patients with clinically defined chronic fatigue immune

dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) who met the criteria established

by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta).

In accordance with a group scoring system of 1-10 points, with

10 being the most severe clinical status, the patient

population was stratified into three clinical groups: A (> 7

points), B (5-7 points), and C (< 5 points). NK cell activity

was assessed by the number of lytic units (LU), which for the

50 healthy controls varied between 20 and 250 (50%, 20-50 LU;

32%, 51-100 LU; 6%, 101-130 LU; and 12%, > 150 LU). In none of

the 20 patients with CFIDS was the NK cell activity > 100 LU.

For group C, the 10 patients stratified as having the least

severe clinical condition, the measure was 61.0 +/- 21.7 LU;

for group B (more severe, n = 7), it was 18.3 +/- 7.3 LU; and

for group A (most severe, n = 3), it was 8.0 +/- 5.3 LU. These

data suggest a correlation between low levels of NK cell

activity and severity of CFIDS, which, if it is confirmed by

additional studies of larger groups, might be useful for

subgrouping patients and monitoring therapy and/or the

progression of CFIDS.

Ojo-Amaize EA, Conley EJ, Peter JB

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