Frequent IgG subclass and mannose binding lectin deficiency in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Hum Immunol. 2015 Oct;76(10):729-35. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2015.09.028. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a severe disease characterized by various symptoms of immune dysfunction. CFS onset is typically with an infection and many patients suffer from frequently recurrent viral or bacterial infections. Immunoglobulin and mannose binding lectin (MBL) deficiency are frequent causes for increased susceptibility to infections. In this study we retrospectively analysed 300 patients with CFS for immunoglobulin and MBL levels, and B-cell subset frequencies. 25% of the CFS patients had decreased serum levels of at least one antibody class or subclass with IgG3 and IgG4 subclass deficiencies as most common phenotypes. However, we found elevated immunoglobulin levels with an excess of IgM and IgG2 in particular in another 25% of patients. No major alteration in numbers of B cells and B-cell subsets was seen. Deficiency of MBL was found in 15% of the CFS patients in contrast to 6% in a historical control group. In a 2nd cohort of 168 patients similar frequencies of IgG subclass and MBL deficiency were found. Thus, humoral immune defects are frequent in CFS patients and are associated with infections of the respiratory tract.

Keywords: Chronic fatigue syndrome; Immunoglobulin; Mannose binding lectin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / pathology
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / blood
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / genetics
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / immunology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / genetics
  • Male
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / blood
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / deficiency*
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / genetics*
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / immunology
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / blood
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / immunology*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Recurrence
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / blood
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / genetics
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin

Supplementary concepts

  • Mannose-Binding Protein Deficiency