The Immune System in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis pp. 1-25
Authors: E. W. Brenu, Grad Dip Bmed, S. Marshall- Gradisnik, D. Staines, Queensland Health, Gold Coast Population Health Unit, Southport, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia., and others
Abstract: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a heterogeneous multifactorial disease characterised by severe fatigue and a range of systemic symptoms resulting in an inability to function at optimal levels. The symptoms of CFS/ME vary from patient to patient; however, prolonged and disabling fatigue, impaired memory and concentration and widespread pain are typical symptoms reported by most patients. There is no known single causal factor associated with CFS/ME although development of the condition post-infection is common. CFS/ME may affect the nervous, immune, endocrine, muscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The present chapter reviews research pertaining to immunological function and other related areas in CFS/ME. Research has shown that CFS/ME patients exhibit abnormalities in immune function. The T, B and Natural Killer lymphocytes are cells frequently examined in CFS/ME. Gene expression studies are providing evidence for the over expression and under expression of genes important for homeostasis. In addition, alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis occur. This review serves as a basis for further research in the aetiology of CFS/ME.