From ME Research UK.
Following her introduction last week, Dr Eleanor Roberts now takes a look at some of the ways in which the immune system may be disrupted in ME/CFS. Have a look back at her previous article for a reminder of some of the cells and processes discussed here.
While there is evidence that the immune system is disrupted in ME/CFS, unfortunately it is hard to pin down what that disruption is, or to identify a single, universal problem. Furthermore, individuals may have more than one cause of their own particular symptoms.
Proposed causes of ME/CFS that involve the immune system include the following:
- Continued activation of the immune system’s response to foreign molecules (antigens) – known as the cell-mediated immune response.
- Long-term changes to the type and function of T-cells in the body.
- Bacteria from the digestive system passing from the gut to the rest of the body – known as bacterial translocation or ‘leaky gut’ – which can lead to a type of autoimmune reaction.
- Increased levels of lysozyme – an enzyme targeted at invading pathogens – which reflects activation of immune and inflammatory pathways.
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