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Investigating the role of TGF-beta and fatigue in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Dibnah et al., 2019

Discussion in 'BioMedical ME/CFS News' started by MeSci, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK
    I thought I'd seen this on this site but can't find it.

    Source: Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

    Vol 78, Suppl #2

    Date: June 2019

    URL: https://ard.bmj.com/content/78/Suppl_2/1495.2.abstract

    {Annual European Congress of Rheumatology, EULAR 2019, Madrid, 12-15 June 2019]

    Investigating the role of TGF-beta and fatigue in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    Beth Dibnah(1), Emmanuella Traianos(1), Jessica Tarn(1), Dennis Lendrem(1), Wan Fai Ng(1,2),

    1. Newcastle University, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle, United Kingdom

    2. NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, Newcastle, United Kingdom



    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is estimated to affect up to 5% of people in Europe and is more common in women than men. It is characterised by unexplained fatigue, post-exertional malaise and a range of other symptoms. Recent studies indicate potential immune dysfunction in CFS, specifically regarding cytokines and the adaptive behavioural response.


    This study aims to investigate serum transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and the expression of the TGF-beta Receptor 1 (TGFBR1) and TGF-beta Receptor 2 (TGFBR2) genes, in relation to the fatigue associated with CFS.


    Serum active and total TGF-beta concentrations were measured in 117 CFS patients and 40 HCs using a TGF-beta responsive luciferase bioassay.

    Expression levels of TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 were analysed using quantitative PCR. Fatigue was measured using the fatigue impact scale (FIS)1. FIS was categorised into three groups; ‘mild’ (0-80), ‘moderate’ (81-120) and ‘severe’ (121-160). Linear and ordinal regressions were performed on the continuous FIS and FIS categories respectively.


    Serum TGF-beta concentrations in the CFS group did not differ significantly compared with the HC group (p=0.58). TGF-beta concentrations showed no correlation with disease duration but there was a trend towards decreased TGF-beta with increasing symptom duration.

    There were no significant differences between the levels of TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 in any of the fatigue groups, or between HCs. Active TGF-beta concentrations were significantly elevated in the ‘severe’ FIS group compared to the ‘mild’ FIS group (p=0.04). Active/total TGF-beta levels were significantly higher in the ‘severe’ FIS group than the ‘mild’ and ‘moderate’ FIS groups (p=0.02, p=0.03 respectively).


    These data suggest no differences in serum concentrations of TGF-beta or expression of TGFBR1 and TGFBR2, between the HC and CFS groups. It also suggests no differences in expression levels of TGFBR1/2 between any of the CFS fatigue groups. However, active/total TGF-beta levels were increased in more severely fatigued patients based on FIS. This finding could be due to higher levels of circulating TGF-beta, or increased amounts of TGF-beta activation. Further work is necessary to confirm this finding in a larger cohort of CFS patients, and to explore how this increase in TGF-beta relates to fatigue.


    [1] Fisk JD, Ritvo PG, Ross L, Haase DA, Marrie TJ, Schlech WF. Measuring the functional impact of fatigue: initial validation of the fatigue impact scale. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 1994;18Suppl 1:S79-83.
  2. BruceInOz

    BruceInOz Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Wow. 5%! Where does that come from?
    Andy likes this.
  3. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

    A missing decimal point perhaps. I assume they meant 0.5%.
    Andy, BruceInOz and Sid like this.
  4. Sid

    Sid Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Another one bites the dust. I guess.
    Andy and Trish like this.

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