Immunologic abnormalities associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Several aspects of cellular immunity in patients with clinically
defined chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were evaluated and
compared with those in healthy individuals. Flow cytometric
analyses revealed normal expression of total T (CD3+), B
(CD19+), and NK (natural killer) (CD16+, CD56+) markers on the
surface of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMC) from
patients with CFS.

However, compared with those of healthy individuals,
patients' CD8+ T cells expressed reduced levels of
CD11b and expressed the activation markers CD38 and HLA-DR
at elevated levels. In many of the individuals in whom
expression of CD11b was reduced the expression of CD28 was

These findings indicate expansion of a population
of activated CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes. A marked decrease
in NK cell activity was found in almost all patients with CFS,
as compared with that in healthy individuals. No substantial
abnormalities in monocyte activity or T cell proliferation
were observed. The results of this study suggest that immune
cell phenotype changes and NK cell dysfunction are common
manifestations of CFS.

Barker E, Fujimura SF, Fadem MB, Landay AL, Levy JA

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