Background: Patients with multisymptom chronic conditions, such as refractory ulcerative colitis (RUC) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), present diagnostic and management challenges for clinicians, as well as the opportunity to recognize and treat emerging disease entities. In the current case we report reversal of co-existing RUC and CFS symptoms arising from biotoxin exposures in a genetically susceptible individual.
Case report: A 25-year-old previously healthy male with new-onset refractory ulcerative colitis (RUC) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) tested negative for autoimmune disease biomarkers. However, urine mycotoxin panel testing was positive for trichothecene group and air filter testing from the patient's water-damaged rental house identified the toxic mold Stachybotrys chartarum. HLA-DR/DQ testing revealed a multisusceptible haplotype for development of chronic inflammation, and serum chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) biomarker testing was positive for highly elevated TGF-beta and a clinically undetectable level of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). Following elimination of biotoxin exposures, VIP replacement therapy, dental extractions, and implementation of a mind body intervention-relaxation response (MBI-RR) program, the patient's symptoms resolved. He is off medications, back to work, and resuming normal exercise.
Conclusions: This constellation of RUC and CFS symptoms in an HLA-DR/DQ genetically susceptible individual with biotoxin exposures is consistent with the recently described CIRS disease pathophysiology. Chronic immune disturbance (turbatio immuno) can be identified with clinically available CIRS biomarkers and may represent a treatable underlying disease etiology in a subset of genetically susceptible patients with RUC, CFS, and other immune disorders.