Dysregulated expression of tumor necrosis factor in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): interrelations with cellular sources & patterns of soluble immune mediator expression

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Among a group of 70 individuals who met the criteria

established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(Atlanta) for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), 12%-28% had

serum levels exceeding 95% of control values for tumor

necrosis factor (TNF) alpha, TNF-beta, interleukin (IL) 1

alpha, IL-2, soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), or neopterin;

overall, 60% of patients had elevated levels of one or more of

the nine soluble immune mediators tested. Nevertheless, only

the distributions for circulating levels of TNF-alpha and

TNF-beta differed significantly in the two populations. In

patients with CFS–but not in controls–serum levels of

TNF-alpha, IL-1 alpha, IL-4, and sIL-2R correlated

significantly with one another and (in the 10 cases analyzed)

with relative amounts (as compared to beta-globin or

beta-actin) of the only mRNAs detectable by reverse

transcriptase-coupled polymerase chain reaction in

peripheral-blood mononuclear cells: TNF-beta, unspliced and

spliced; IL-1 beta, lymphocyte fraction; and IL-6 (in order of

appearance). These findings point to polycellular activation

and may be relevant to the etiology and nosology of CFS.

Patarca R, Klimas NG, Lugtendorf S, Antoni M, Fletcher MA

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