Chronic fatigue syndrome with autoantibodies--the result of an augmented adjuvant effect of hepatitis-B vaccine and silicone implant

Autoimmun Rev. 2008 Oct;8(1):52-5. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2008.07.026. Epub 2008 Aug 24.


Background: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) that defines by prolonged fatigue and other manifestations, was recently integrated into a spectrum of central sensitivity syndromes including several diseases as fibromylagia. CFS etiology is multi-factorial commonly triggered by infectious agents. Vaccines, induce an immune response similarly to infections, and may trigger just like infections autoimmune diseases, CFS and fibromyalgia. Furthermore vaccines contain an adjuvant which enhances their immune stimulation.

Case presentation: A 56-year-old woman was diagnosed with CFS accompanied by fibromyalgia, demyelination and autoantibodies. Her illness begun following the 2nd dose of hepatitis-B vaccine, and was aggravated by the 3rd vaccination. She underwent silicone breast implantation 6 years before vaccination with no adverse events. However, between the 2nd and 3rd vaccination she suffered a breast injury with local inflammation. Upon explanation of her breast implants silicone leak was observed.

Discussion: Vaccines have been reported to precede CFS mainly following exposure to multiple vaccinations (e.g. the Gulf war syndrome), or as an adverse response to the vaccine adjuvant (e.g. the macrophagic myofasciitis syndrome). Silicone is considered an adjuvant to the immune system, and may induce "the adjuvant disease". Silicone implant, especially silicone leak relationship with autoimmunity and CFS has been the focus of considerable debates.

Conclusion: Our patient illness started following hepatitis-B vaccine, suggesting that it was caused or accelerated by vaccination. In parallel to vaccination our patient suffered from breast injury, which might represent the time of silicone leak. The exposure to the adjuvant, silicone, might have augmented her immune response to the vaccine. To the best of our knowledge this is the first case of combined adverse effect to vaccine and silicone. Vaccine safety in individuals with silicone implants requires further studies.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Autoimmunity
  • Breast / injuries
  • Breast / pathology*
  • Breast / surgery
  • Breast Implants / adverse effects*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / etiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mastitis / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Silicone Gels / adverse effects*
  • Viral Hepatitis Vaccines / adverse effects*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Silicone Gels
  • Viral Hepatitis Vaccines