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The best evidence yet that immune system problems can cause ME/CFS?

Datum: 23.04.2020 Kategorie: 07 Fatigatio e.V. Autor: MKK (kanter)

Human leucocytes Antigen (HLA) proteins play an essential role in helping the immune system to recognise pathogens. This new research is easily the best study yet of HLA alleles (gene variants) in ME/CFS. It finds links between alleles of at least two HLA genes and ME/CFS. And since the illness can’t change (HLA) DNA, the link must be that the alleles must play a causal role in ME/CFS. So this evidence that the immune system plays a causal role for at least a subset of ME/CFS patients. The finding needs replication.

Does ice cream cause sunburn? The evidence for this is that many people who buy ice cream also get sunburn. Of course, ice cream doesn’t cause sunburn, people buy ice cream and get sunburn on sunny days. But this illustrates a problem faced by researchers: just because two things occur together is no guarantee that one causes the other.

Take the example of cytokines, immune messenger molecules, in ME/CFS. Researchers have found abnormalities in the level of several cytokines, which could be evidence that problems in the immune system are driving ME/CFS. Equally, the cytokine abnormalities could simply be the result of ME/CFS or just a general effect of being ill.