Associations between clinical symptoms, plasma norepinephrine and deregulated immune gene networks in subgroups of adolescent with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, by Chinh Bkrong Nguyen, Surendra Kumar, Manuela Zucknick, Vessela N Kristensen, Johannes Gjerstad, Hilde Nilsen, Vegard BruunWyller, in Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Nov 9. pii: S0889-1591(18)30796-7 [Epub ahead of print]


Research abstract:

BACKGROUND: Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of the most important causes of disability among adolescents while limited knowledge exists on genetic determinants underlying disease pathophysiology.

METHODS: We analyzed deregulated immune-gene modules using Pathifier software on whole blood gene expression data (29 CFS patients, 18 controls). Deconvolution of immune cell subtypes based on gene expression profile was performed using CIBERSORT. Supervised consensus clustering on pathway deregulation score (PDS) was used to define CFS subgroups. Associations between PDS and immune, neuroendocrine/autonomic and clinical markers were examined. The impact of plasma norepinephrine level on clinical markers over time was assessed in a larger cohort (91 patients).

RESULTS: A group of 29 immune-gene sets was shown to differ patients from controls and detect subgroups within CFS. Group 1P (high PDS, low norepinephrine, low naïve CD4+ composition) had strong association with levels of serum C-reactive protein and Transforming Growth Factor-beta. Group 2P (low PDS, high norepinephrine, high naïve CD4+composition) had strong associations with neuroendocrine/autonomic markers. The corresponding plasma norepinephrine level delineated 91 patients into two subgroups with significant differences in fatigue score.

CONCLUSION: We identified 29 immune-gene sets linked to plasma norepinephrine level that could delineate CFS subgroups. Plasma norepinephrine stratification revealed that lower levels of norepinephrine were associated with higher fatigue. Our data suggests potential involvement of neuro-immune dysregulation and genetic stratification in CFS.

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