Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 30–40 | Cite as

Lymphocyte phenotype and function in the chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Stephen E. Straus
  • Scott Fritz
  • Janet K. Dale
  • Barbara Gould
  • Warren Strober
Original Articles

Abstract

Lymphocytes of 18 patients meeting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) case definition for the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), 10 similar, chronically fatigued patients not fully conforming to the CDC case definition, and 17 matched, healthy individuals were studied to determine the presence of abnormalities of peripheral cell phenotype and function. Extensive phenotypic analyses of B- and T-cell subsets, natural killer (NK) cells, and macrophages were performed using single-, dual-, and three-color flow cytometry. Compared to controls, in CFS patients the percentage of CD4 T cells and CD4, CD45RA, or naive T cells, was reduced. The CD4, CD45RO, or memory T-cell, subset was numerically normal but expressed increased levels of adhesion markers (CD29, CD54, and CD58). CFS patient lymphocytes showed reduced proliferative responses to phytohemagglutinin, concanavalin A, and staphylococcal enterotoxin B. Lymphocytes from fatigue patients not meeting the CDC definition showed similar abnormalities. These data indicate that peripheral T cells manifest an increased state of differentiation in CFS and related conditions. This may arise as a consequence of an underlying neuropsychiatric and/or neuroendocrine disorder or because of exposure to antigens or superantigens of an infectious agent.

Key words

Chronic fatigue syndrome CD45RA/RO proliferative responses T-cell subsets 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen E. Straus
    • 1
  • Scott Fritz
    • 3
  • Janet K. Dale
    • 1
  • Barbara Gould
    • 3
  • Warren Strober
    • 2
  1. 1.Medical Virology Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  2. 2.Mucosal Immunity Section, Laboratory of Clinical Investigation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesda
  3. 3.Clinical Immunology Services, Program Resources Inc./DynCorpNational Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development CenterFrederick
  4. 4.Laboratory of Clinical Investigation/NIAIDNational Institutes of HealthBethesda

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