Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Blood proteins are linked to severity of chronic fatigue syndrome, study says

Blood proteins are linked to severity of chronic fatigue syndrome, study says

Now, a team of researchers from Stanford University managed to discover 17 proteins in the body which confirm the existence of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Signs of inflammation have previously been documented in chronic fatigue syndrome patients, pointing to potential causes, but the data was limited and contradictory at times. The disease has no known cure, is hard to diagnose, and still to this day is debated by some as being more a psychological condition than a physical one.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is an inflammatory disease which could soon be diagnosed through a simple blood test, scientists have said.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (sometimes referred to in medical literature by the acronym ME/CFS for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome) is a debilitating illness characterized by overwhelming fatigue that is not improved by rest, according to the CDC. The findings were published July 31 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This caused a lot of unpleasant situations for the sufferers, as many doctors do not regard chronic fatigue syndrome as a real disease, and tell patients they are only imagining the symptoms. The bigger the rises, the more severe the condition.

The findings by Dr. Jose Montoya and his team at Stanford University School of Medicine, described in a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could also be used to improve the treatment of the disorder, which has been notably hard.

"I have seen the horrors of this disease, multiplied by hundreds of patients", said Montoya. But the precise triggers have not yet been identified.

To tackle the problem, Montoya called on Davis, and together they created the Humane Immune Monitoring Center - a center equipped to study gene variations and activity levels, blood concentrations of scores of immune proteins, frequencies of immune cell types, and more.

They analyzed blood samples from 192 Stanford patients as well as from 392 healthy control subjects.

"Many of these symptoms can be explained by circulating immune system molecules described by Montoya and colleagues in this paper, as well as by others who have reported similar findings", Lipkin, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email.

The scientists found that some cytokine levels were lower in patients with mild forms of ME/CFS than in the control subjects, but elevated in ME/CFS patients with relatively severe manifestations.

When comparing patients versus control subjects, the researchers found that only two of the 51 cytokines they measured were different.

The research moved to more accurately identify those specific proteins and found the concentrations of 17 different cytokines rose in accordance with the severity of a patient's ME/CFS.

TGF-beta is often thought of as an anti-inflammatory rather than a pro-inflammatory cytokine. Antivirals and anti-inflammatories have also helped some people.

Just as important, the study design separated patients into separate categories depending on disease severity. The new study holds implications for the direction of future studies, suggesting clinical trials to test the effectiveness of drugs that modulate the immune system. Generally, leptin is more abundant in women's blood than in men's, which could throw light on why more women than men have ME/CFS. "However, it's possible that for certain pathologies in humans, analysis by disease severity or duration would be likely to provide further insights".

Like this: