Journal of IiME Volume 5 Issue 1 (May 2011) International Science Symposium on ME There is a need to focus on autonomic and immune therapies which do interface with each other. This study confirms that graded exercise is not good for those with CFS, and patients must stop exercise well short of the aerobic threshold. Breaks between exercise need to be twice as long as the duration of the exercise. Hugh Perry (Southampton, UK) discussed the adaptive and maladaptive components of what he describes as “sickness behaviour”. He then focused on the language of “sickness” in relation to the way the systems behave during inflammation, for example “feeling ill” with pain and fever. He described sickness behaviour as an organised strategy which is not “bad”. Infection leads to an inflammatory response with release of cytokines, which then communicate with the brain and cause symptoms such as malaise, fever and depression. Systemic inflammation activates selective brain regions, with different challenges activating different regions. This mechanism works through the macrophages in the brain via the blood-brain-barrier. Endothelial cells communicate with the macrophages via the microglia. This is an important part of homeostasis, and is usually transient. He then went on to talk about chronic neurological disease when microglia increase in number and activation and become “primed”. Exaggerated sickness behaviour then occurs in those with chronic brain disease, in response to infection. The microglia release cytokines very readily if already primed. A maladaptive pathway develops. One study involved the follow up of 300 Alzheimer‟s disease (AD) patients 2 monthly for 6 months. Those who had an infection had a more rapid mental decline, while those who had suffered no infection showed no change. Other “behaviours” also changed greatly as a result of infection. He described obesity, smoking, age and grey hair as all contributing to earlier AD as all these have inflammatory Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) effects. He concluded by saying that systemic infections lead to distortion and maladaption exhibited by sickness behaviour, because of the primed microglia. This in turn leads to accelerated progression of brain disease. He said that a vaccination can be used as a challenge to demonstrate changes. Functional MRI has more use at detecting these changes. Mary Ann Fletcher (Miami, Florida) presented her work on biomarkers for CFS. The goal in CFS research has been to find a biomarker or combination of biomarkers. This will enhance the ability to diagnose and demonstrate severity of the illness, define subsets and help to manage trials. Natural killer (NK) cells were studied initially looking at function and the diminution of perforin and granzyme. 176 CFS patients showed significantly lower function in NK cells compared to controls. She then went on to describe how neuropeptide-Y (NPY) is involved in the stress reaction with increase in norepinephrine and NPY from the sympathetic nerve endings. In a controlled study, NPY was considerably higher in CFS compared to controls. Use of receiver operating curve (ROC) analysis was described, and this showed discrimination between CFS patients and controls. Using ROC, NPY was found to be 80% sensitive in CFS, (which is better than the PSA test we use to help diagnose cancer of the prostate). NPY also correlates with markers of disease severity. Other potential biomarkers using this technique included 10 of 16 cytokines measured, NK cell cell function and dipepdyl peptidase/CD26 which is indicative of immune activation. This is all part of a complex integrated system. In future exercise challenge will be included in testing this paradigm, and computer analysis will be developed to stimulate research in further clinical trials. These abnormalities may have applications in other diseases. Continued page 24 www.investinme.org Page 23/58

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