Lymphocyte subsets, apoptosis, and cytokines in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

J Infect Dis. 1996 Feb;173(2):460-3. doi: 10.1093/infdis/173.2.460.


Whether immunologic abnormalities correlate with fatigue severity and functional impairment in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was investigated. Blood mononuclear cells were immunophenotyped and circulating ex vivo-produced cytokines were measured in 76 CFS patients and 69 healthy matched controls. Expression of CD11b on CD8 cells was significantly decreased in CFS patients. However, the previously reported increased expression of CD38 and HLA-DR was not confirmed. There was no obvious difference in apoptosis in leukocyte cultures, circulating cytokines, and ex vivo production of interleukin (IL)-1 alpha and IL-1 receptor antagonist. Endotoxin-stimulated ex vivo production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-beta was significantly lower in CFS. The immunologic test results did not correlate with fatigue severity or psychologic well-being was measured by Checklist Individual Strength, Beck Depression Inventory, and Sickness Impact Profile. Thus, these immunologic tests cannot be used as diagnostic tools in individual CFS patients.

MeSH terms

  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / immunology
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • CD11 Antigens / immunology
  • CD8 Antigens / immunology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / immunology*
  • Female
  • HLA-DR Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Middle Aged
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CD11 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • N-Glycosyl Hydrolases
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase
  • CD38 protein, human
  • ADP-ribosyl Cyclase 1