International Journal of Medical Sciences

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15 December 2018

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Int J Med Sci 2015; 12(10):764-772. doi:10.7150/ijms.12399

Research Paper

Serum Immune Proteins in Moderate and Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patients

Sharni Lee Hardcastle, Ekua Weba Brenu, Samantha Johnston, Thao Nguyen, Teilah Huth, Sandra Ramos, Donald Staines, Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik

National Centre for Neuroimmunology and Emerging Diseases, 9.22, G40 Griffith Health Institute, School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Parklands Drive, 4222, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.


Immunological dysregulation is present in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), with recent studies also highlighting the importance of examining symptom severity. This research addressed this relationship between CFS/ME severity subgroups, assessing serum immunoglobulins and serum cytokines in severe and moderate CFS/ME patients. Participants included healthy controls (n= 22), moderately (n = 22) and severely (n=19) affected CFS/ME patients. The 1994 Fukuda Criteria defined CFS/ME and severity scales confirmed mobile and housebound CFS/ME patients as moderate and severe respectively. IL-1β was significantly reduced in severe compared with moderate CFS/ME patients. IL-6 was significantly decreased in moderate CFS/ME patients compared with healthy controls and severe CFS/ME patients. RANTES was significantly increased in moderate CFS/ME patients compared to severe CFS/ME patients. Serum IL-7 and IL-8 were significantly higher in the severe CFS/ME group compared with healthy controls and moderate CFS/ME patients. IFN-γ was significantly increased in severe CFS/ME patients compared with moderately affected patients. This was the first study to show cytokine variation in moderate and severe CFS/ME patients, with significant differences shown between CFS/ME symptom severity groups. This research suggests that distinguishing severity subgroups in CFS/ME research settings may allow for a more stringent analysis of the heterogeneous and otherwise inconsistent illness.

Keywords: Cytokine, Immunoglobulin, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Serum Protein, Inflammation

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Hardcastle SL, Brenu EW, Johnston S, Nguyen T, Huth T, Ramos S, Staines D, Marshall-Gradisnik S. Serum Immune Proteins in Moderate and Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Patients. Int J Med Sci 2015; 12(10):764-772. doi:10.7150/ijms.12399. Available from