The immune system in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis
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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 ability 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 report 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 review 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.
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