MCP-1 is increased in patients with CFS and FM, whilst several other immune markers are significantly lower than healthy controls, by Nina Groven, Egil Andreas Fors, Astrid Kamilla Stunes, Solveig Klæbo Reitan in Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health Vol 4, April 2020 []



  • MCP-1 is significantly increased in CFS and Fibromyalgia compared to controls.
  • CFS and Fibromyalgia share common features of inflammation.
  • Decreased IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, TNF-α, TGF-β1, TGF-β2, TGF-β3, IL-10 and IL-17A are found in both CFS and Fibromyalgia.


The role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not clear. We have previously reported increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in these patient groups compared to healthy controls and wanted to further explore the levels of circulating immune markers in these populations.

The population consisted of three groups, 58 patients with FM, 49 with CFS and 54 healthy controls. All participants were females aged 18–60. Patients were recruited from a specialised university hospital clinic and controls were recruited by advertisement among the staff and students at the hospital and university.

Plasma levels of Interferon (IFN)-γ, Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1ra, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17, Interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein (MCP)-1, Transforming Growth Factor (TGF)-β1, TGF-β2, TGF-β3 and Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α were analysed by multiplex. Differences between the three groups CFS, FM and controls, were analysed by Kruskal Wallis tests.

MCP-1 was significantly increased in both patient groups compared to healthy controls. IL-1β, Il-4, IL-6, TNF-α, TGF-β1, TGF-β2, TGF-β3, IL-10 and IL17 all were significantly lower in the patient groups than healthy controls. IFN-γ was significantly lower in the FM group. For IL-8, IL-10 and IL-1ra there were no significant difference when controlled for multiple testing.

In conclusion, in our material MCP-1 seems to be increased in patients both with CFS and with FM, while several other immune markers are significantly lower in patients than controls.

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