The clinical value of cytokines in chronic fatigue syndrome, by Tiansong Yang, Yan Yang, Delong Wang, Chaoran Li, Yuanyuan Qu, Jing Guo, Tianyu Shi, Wang Bo, Zhongren Sun and Tetsuya Asakawa in Journal of Translational Medicine 2019 17:213 [Published: 28 June 2019]


Research abstract:

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a heterogeneous disorder with uncertain pathogenesis. Without effective therapy, CFS is characterized by disabling fatigue, depression, memory loss, and somatic discomfort.

This comprehensive and impartial review aimed to assess the available evidence and examined the potential clinical value of using cytokines for the monitoring of CFS and as targets for the treatment of CFS.

Cytokines are cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma.     Dr Ananya Mandal

Inflammatory reactions and immune modulation are considered to contribute to the pathophysiology of CFS, and it is well documented that cytokines present in both blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) are closely associated with the progression and severity of CFS. However, pathophysiological and methodological limitations prevent using circulating cytokines as independent diagnostic indices.

Moreover, there is no evidence to support the use of CSF cytokines as independent diagnostic indices. Nevertheless, a comprehensive evaluation of changes in circulating and CSF cytokines may improve clinical understanding of the pathophysiology of patients with CFS, aiding in the establishment of an appropriate diagnosis.

Importantly, the available evidence does not support the value of cytokines as therapeutic targets. We believe that an improved understanding of cytokine-related mechanisms will be helpful to explore new cytokine-related therapeutic targets.

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