Research abstract:

Background: CD8+ T cells have putative roles in the regulation of adaptive immune responses during infection. The purpose of this paper is to compare the status of CD8+ T cells in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Methods:  This preliminary investigation comprised 23 CFS/ME patients, 11 untreated MS patients, and 30 nonfatigued controls. Whole blood samples were collected from participants, stained with monoclonal antibodies, and analysed on the flow cytometer. Using the following CD markers, CD27 and CD45RA (CD45 exon isoform 4), CD8+ T cells were divided into naïve, central memory (CM), effector memory CD45RA− (EM), and effector memory CD45RA+ (EMRA) cells.

Results: Surface expressions of BTLA, CD127, and CD49/CD29 were increased on subsets of CD8+ T cells from MS patients. In the CFS/ME patients CD127 was significantly decreased on all subsets of CD8+ T cells in comparison to the nonfatigued controls. PSGL-1 was significantly reduced in the CFS/ME patients in comparison to the nonfatigued controls.

Conclusions: The results suggest significant deficits in the expression of receptors and adhesion molecules on subsets of CD8+ T cells in both MS and CFS/ME patients. These deficits reported may contribute to the pathogenesis of these diseases. However, larger sample size is warranted to confirm and support these encouraging preliminary findings.

Conclusions in article: 

In summary, these preliminary findings provide new insight into the possibility of hyper activated inflammatory CD8+ T cell profile in untreated MS patients while CFS/ME patients may display an exhausted profile which permits viral prevalence and persistence. The above data may suggest that the differential expressions of receptors and adhesion molecules in MS patients are in response to imbalances in neuroimmune homeostasis.

In comparison to CFS/ME patients, MS patients may have more severe immune dysregulation. Nevertheless it is likely that impairments in CD8+ T cells in CFS/ME patients relate to abnormal levels of adhesion and migratory molecules and these abnormalities may contribute to the persistent immune dysregulation observed and warrant further validation in a larger sample size.

A Preliminary Comparative Assessment of the Role of CD8+ T Cells in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis, by Ekua W. Brenu, Simon Broadley, Thao Nguyen, Samantha Johnston, Sandra Ramos, Don Staines, and Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik in Journal of Immunology Research Volume 2016

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