Clinical improvement in chronic fatigue syndrome is not associated with lymphocyte subsets of function or activation

M Peakman, A Deale, R Field, M Mahalingam, S Wessely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between markers of immune function and chronic fatigue syndrome (CPS) is controversial. To examine the relationship directly, 43 subjects with CFS entering a randomized controlled trial of a nonpharmacological treatment for CFS gave samples for immunological analysis before and after treatment. Percentage levels of total CD3(+) T cells, CD4 T cells, CD8 T cells, and activated subsets did not differ between CFS subjects and controls. Naive (CD45RA(+)R0(-)) and memory (CD45RA(-)R0(+)) T cells did not differ between subjects and controls. Natural killer cells (CD16(+)/CD56(+)/CD3(-)) were significantly increased in CFS patients compared to controls, as was the percentage of CD11b(+) CD8 cells. There were no correlations between any immune variable and measures of clinical status, with the exception of a weak correlation between total CD4 T cells and fatigue. There was a positive correlation between memory CD4 and CD8 T cells and depression scores and a negative correlation between naive CD4 T cells and depression. No immune measures changed during the course of the study, and there was no link between clinical improvement as a result of the treatment program and immune status. Immune measures did not predict response or lack of response to treatment. In conclusion, we have been unable to replicate previous findings of immune activation in CFS and unable to find any important associations between clinical status, treatment response, and immunological status. (C) 1997 Academic Press, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997


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