Faculty Sponsor, if applicable
Background. Studies have demonstrated immune dysfunction in adolescents with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), however, evidence has been varied. The current study uses network analysis to examine the relationships between cytokines among a sample of pediatric patients with ME/CFS. Methods. 10,119 youth aged 5–17 in the Chicagoland area were screened. 209 received a physician examination and blood draw. Youth were given a diagnosis of ME/CFS if they met criteria for selected case definitions; controls were those who met no criteria (n = 43), those meeting one case definition were termed ME/CFS (n = 23), and those who met more than one set of criteria were termed “severe ME/CFS” (S-ME/CFS; n = 45). Patterns of plasma cytokine networks were analyzed. Results. Inflammatory cytokines IL12, IL17, and IFNy have a weak relationship and are disassociated from the primary grouping in controls. In the ME/CFS group, these cytokines are strongly connected and are included in the primary grouping, suggesting activation of inflammatory mechanisms. The S-ME/CFS group shows a strong relationship between IL17 and IL23, a connection associated with chronic inflammation. Conclusions. The changing pattern of proteins implies that there may be biological differences between our three groups of participants.
Type of Research
Undergraduate Student - Independent Study