Stress-associated immune modulation: relevance to viral infections & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The frequent association of an active viral infection with the

symptoms of CFS led researchers to hypothesize that chronic

fatigue syndrome (CFS) is induced by a virus. Results of these

studies indicated that despite clinical support for this

hypothesis, there were no clear data linking viruses to CFS.

In this overview, we will explore the interrelation of the

immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems, and the

possibility that stress and/or the reactivation/replication of

a latent virus (such as Epstein-Barr virus) could modulate the

immune system to induce CFS. Relevant research conducted in

the developing field of psychoneuroimmunology will be

reviewed, with a particular focus on cytokine synthesis,

natural killer (NK) cell activity, and T- lymphocyte function,

as they relate to CFS.

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