From University of Toronto News.
A new U of T study may lead to help for sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) who face debilitating fatigue that can’t be cured by rest.
The study, which looks at epigenetic changes in people with CFS, is the first to identify differences in sensitivity to a hormone found in the body. Epigenetic changes can be caused by environmental triggers like toxins, stress, nutrition or infections, and while the change doesn’t alter the gene itself, it influences how and when a gene is turned off.
By identifying these changes, researchers can then start to develop ways of testing drugs already in use or develop new therapies.
“Hopefully these results will offer CFS patients some hope,” says lead author Wilfred de Vega, a PhD student in Associate Professor Patrick McGowan’s biological sciences lab at U of T Scarborough.
McGowan and de Vega compared immune cells in CFS patients to a control group first by looking at epigenetic differences across the entire genome. The researchers then tested patients’ immune response to glucocorticoids, in this case a version of cortisol, which has anti-inflammatory properties. (Glucocorticoids are a type of hormone that play an important role in the immune system and are also used to treat immune system disorders.)
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