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Searching for serum antibodies to neuronal proteins in patients with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (2019) Giannoccaro et al.

Discussion in 'ME/CFS research' started by MeSci, May 3, 2019.

  1. MeSci

    MeSci Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Cornwall, UK
    Source: Clinical Therapeutics


    Date: May 1, 2019


    Searching for serum antibodies to neuronal proteins in patients with Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
    Maria Pia Giannoccaro(1), Judith Cossins(1), Kari Sorland(2), Oystein Fluge(2), Angela Vincent(1)

    1 Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

    2 Department of Oncology and Medical Physics, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

    * Corresposponding author. Pia Giannoccaro, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. Email: mpgiannoccaro@gmail.com

    Received 12 March 2019

    Revised 28 March 2019

    Accepted 1 April 2019

    Available online 1 May 2019.



    A role for the immune system in causing myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is long suspected, but few studies have looked for specific autoantibodies that might contribute to the symptoms. Our aim was to look for evidence of antibodies to neuronal proteins in patients with ME/CSF.


    Sera samples from 50 patients and 50 healthy individuals were sent coded to the Neuroimmunology Laboratory in Oxford. Screening for antibody binding to neuronal tissue was performed on brain tissue and neuronal cultures. Specific serum antibodies were assessed by antigen-specific cell-based assays and radioimmunoassays. After antibody testing, the associations between seropositive status and clinical data were investigated.


    Overall, 8 patients and 11 participants were found to have some serum immunoreactivity toward neuronal or neuromuscular junction proteins, but only 1 patient and 2 participants had specific serum antibodies.

    Nevertheless, seropositive status in patients with ME was associated with shorter duration since onset and a more severe disease.


    The results indicate no overall increased frequency of antibodies to neuronal proteins in ME/CSF and no evidence of a specific antibody that might be causative or contribute to clinical features in patients.

    However, the association of seropositive status with shorter duration of disease and more severe symptoms suggests a possible role of antibodies at onset in some patients and should be the focus of future studies.

    Key words: antibodies; chronic fatigue syndrome; LRP4; myalgic encephalopathy; neuronal surface antigens; NMDA receptor
    WillowJ, MSEsperanza, Lidia and 8 others like this.
  2. Andy

    Andy Committee Member

    Hampshire, UK
  3. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I'm finding the following sentence from the Discussion a bit odd:

    The cause of ME/CFS is unclear, although it is likely to be a heterogeneous disorder that covers different causes, pathologic processes, and is often accompanied by neuropsychiatric features.
    Skycloud, Grigor, MEMarge and 3 others like this.
  4. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I really really wish people would stop speculating in the formal literature/advice on the cause/s.

    Why can't they simply say 'We just don't yet know'?
    Simone, Trish, obeat and 1 other person like this.
  5. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    London, UK
    That to me is not an unreasonable summary. Most people agree there is heterogeneity and probably a range of causal factors, at least in initiation. In terms of neuropsychiatric features I think it is worth remembering that Angela Vincent is an authority on autoimmune encephalopathies and these would be considered to have 'neuropsychiatric features'. For instance, coma is a neuropsychiatric feature. What they are meaning are signs of impaired brain function - what usually get referred to as cognitive problems. Neuropsychiatric in this sense means something quite different from psychological or even psychiatric.
    MEMarge, Simone, TrixieStix and 13 others like this.
  6. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Thank you. I didn't know that.
    MEMarge, MeSci, Trish and 4 others like this.
  7. obeat

    obeat Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Patients with MS,SLE, systemic sclerosis can all have neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by the disease process. A friend of ours developed psychosis as the presenting symptom of systemic sclerosis.
    MEMarge, Simone, Kalliope and 3 others like this.

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