Prof. Jarred Younger
University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Background and aim
Many of the characteristic symptoms of ME/CFS suggest that the immune system is activated in the brains of people with the illness, leading to the release of inflammatory chemicals.
This neuroinflammation is known to cause a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, pain sensitivity, cognitive problems and sleep disturbances, all of which are common in people with ME/CFS. But how might this occur?
The central hypothesis behind a new project, funded by ME Research UK and led by Prof. Jarred Younger at the University of Alabama, is that activated immune cells from elsewhere in the body infiltrate the brain, so driving these symptoms of ME/CFS.
Prof. Younger explains that the brain and body have distinct immune systems which are separated by what is known as the blood-brain barrier. These two immune systems employ different kinds of cells: microglia in the brain, and T cells, B cells and NK cells in the rest of the body.
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