BY Stephen Luntz in IFL SCIENCE.
People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may suffer from a dysfunctional cell receptor in their immune cells, a study in Clinical and Experimental Immunology has reported. The finding confirms earlier research that CFS is a biological condition, not a psychological one, and opens lines of inquiry for potential treatment options.
The transient receptor potential melastatin subfamily 3 (TRPM3) is one of the most primitive receptors in the body, Professor Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik told IFLScience. It’s activated by a wide variety of agents, from bacteria and viruses to temperature and environmental factors such as perfumes. This diversity made it a logical suspect for a condition like CFS that has so many different triggers in different people.
Marshall-Gradisnik compared TRPM3 receptors in natural killer cells in blood taken from 15 people with CFS and 25 healthy controls, finding that TRPM3 levels were much lower in those with CFS. TRPM3 is an ion channel, controlling the way calcium ions are transmitted between cells and carrying instructions in the process. In some circumstances, CFS patients’ cells showed much higher calcium ion flux, providing a possible explanation for CFS symptoms.
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