Research abstract:

Dysregulation of cytokine pathways in chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis by Matthew Sorenson, Jacob Furst, Herbert Mathews & Leonard A. Jason in Fatigue: Biomedicine Heath & Behavior pp1-14 [Published online 7 Jun 2017]


Cytokine studies in chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have yielded mixed findings.


This investigation evaluated whether network analysis of cytokine production differs between patients with CFS and multiple sclerosis (MS) as compared to a reference group of healthy controls.


Three subgroups (N = 109) were included: 15 participants who met diagnostic criteria for CFS, 57 participants meeting criteria for MS, and 37 controls. Peripheral blood was obtained and production of a select cytokine profile was determined from stimulated and unstimulated mononuclear cells. Data were generated through the use of a multi-analyte bead suspension array. Pairwise associations were determined for each group, and these associations were used to create a graphical representation of the data. The graph was clustered using an eigenvector community algorithm and results visualized using edges to model the correlations by color and thickness to show direction and strength.


The control and MS groups produced a three-neighborhood relationship regardless of cell condition. While producing a three-neighborhood relationship, the MS group differed significantly from the control group as it displayed stronger relationships among pro-inflammatory cytokines. In contrast, the CFS group displayed a three-neighborhood solution when unstimulated. However, when cells from the CFS group were stimulated, a two-neighborhood model was found that exhibited stronger inter-cytokine correlations. The model found in CFS was significantly different from that found in the control and MS groups.


CFS was characterized by a pattern of global immunologic activation using network analysis, fundamentally different from those found for either MS or control groups.

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