Persistent fatigue induced by interferon-alpha: a novel, inflammation-based, proxy model of chronic fatigue syndrome

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This study looked at inflammatory markers in people with persistent fatigue that began after treating Hepatitis C with interferon alpha therapy, and persisted for at least 6 months after.[1] The initial grant described the persistent fatigue and flu-like symptoms occurring after treatment of Hepatitis C with Interferon alpha therapy as being remarkably similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.[2] This study is due to be published in 2019, a corrected proof was made available online in December 2018, and a press release, science briefing and interviews with the media were held in December 2018, ahead of publication.[3]

Funding[edit | edit source]

  • Medical Research Council grant name: Persistent Fatigue Induced by Interferon-alpha: A New Immunological Model for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MR/J002739/1), awarded to Carmine Pariante, the 20th author.
  • Principle investigator Alice Russell also received support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care South London at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Conflicts of interest[edit | edit source]

  • This study included a long list of conflicts of interest, almost entirely related to prior hepatitis funding, drug companies that produce treatments for hepatitis and prior funding for research apparently unrelated to ME/CFS.
  • Carmine Pariante, who the Medical Research Council grant was awarded to, also disclosed prior funding on depression and inflammation in the conflicts of interest.

Results[edit | edit source]

Criticism from scientists[edit | edit source]

Responses and criticism from charities[edit | edit source]

  • Charity Action for ME welcomed the study, but criticized the choice of diagnostic criteria, stating it did not include post-exertional malaise, the "hallmark" symptom of ME/CFS, which could lead to patients with other non-fatiguing conditions being included[6]
  • #MEAction Missing Millions urged caution

Criticism from citizen scientists[edit | edit source]

  • "This lower KYN/TRP ratio in #CFS is somewhat in opposition to a study of somatization which observed higher levels of the KYN/TRP ratio. This points to a different biological underpinning of primarily psychiatric syndromes, such as depression & somatization, as opposed to CFS."[7]  - Tom Kindlon
  • Science4ME forum

Investigators[edit | edit source]

Alice Russell, Nilay Hepgul, Naghmeh Nikkheslat, Alessandra Borsini, Zuzanna Zajkowska, Natalie Moll, Daniel Forton, Kosh Agarwal, Trudie Chalder, Valeria Mondelli, Matthew Hotopf, Anthony Cleare, Gabrielle Murphy, Graham Foster, Terry Wong, Gregor A. Schütze, Markus J. Schwarz, Neil Harrison, Patricia A. Zunszain, Carmine A. Pariante

Media coverage[edit | edit source]

This study has had media coverage, and a briefing for journalists was held at the Science Media Centre, UK.

  • 2018, Could overactive immune system trigger Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?[8]
  • 2018, First look at sufferers before they fall ill suggests overactive immune system can put them 'on trajectory' to years of exhaustion[9]
  • 2018, Study finds chronic fatigue clues in overactive immune response[10]
  • 2018, Chronic fatigue syndrome 'could be triggered by overactive immune system'[11]

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Russell, Alice; Hepgul, Nilay; Nikkheslat, Naghmeh; Borsini, Alessandra; Zajkowska, Zuzanna; Moll, Natalie; Forton, Daniel; Agarwal, Kosh; Chalder, Trudie; Mondelli, Valeria; Hotopf, Matthew; Anthony, Cleare; Murphy, Gabrielle; Wong, Terry; Foster, Graham; Schütze, Gregor A.; Schwarz, Markus J.; Harrison, Neil; Zunszain, Patricia; Pariante, Carmine (2018). "Persistent fatigue induced by interferon-alpha: a novel, inflammation-based, proxy model of chronic fatigue syndrome". Psychoneuroendocrinology. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.11.032. ISSN 0306-4530. Retrieved Dec 18, 2018. 
  2. Medical Research Council. "CFS/ME Current Projects". mrc.ukri.org. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  3. Pariante, Carmine; Russell, Alice (Dec 14, 2018). "The biology of chronic fatigue | Science Media Centre". Science Media Centre. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  4. Brown, Nick (Dec 17, 2018). "Nick Brown's blog: Have scientists found an explanation for the onset of ME/CFS?". Nick Brown's blog. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  5. Tuller, David (Dec 19, 2018). "Trial By Error: The New Interferon "CFS" Study". Virology blog. Retrieved Dec 20, 2018. 
  6. M.E, Action for (Dec 17, 2018). "NEW RESEARCH: Prof Carmine Pariante has announced the results of #research which states that an overactive immune system may explain the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. #CFS". @actionforme. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  7. Kindlon, Tom. "Tweet status 1074517907961466881". Twitter. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  8. Ives, Laurel (Dec 17, 2018). "Could overactive immune system trigger ME?". BBC News. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  9. Matthews-King, Alex (Dec 17, 2018). "Hope for ME patients as immune system study challenges stigma that chronic fatigue is 'all in the mind'". The Independent. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  10. Kelland, Kate (Dec 17, 2018). "Study finds chronic fatigue clues in overactive immune response". Reuters. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 
  11. Davis, Nicola (Dec 17, 2018). "Chronic fatigue syndrome 'could be triggered by overactive immune system'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved Dec 19, 2018. 

ME/CFS - An acronym that combines myalgic encephalomyelitis with chronic fatigue syndrome. Sometimes they are combined because people have trouble distinguishing one from the other. Sometimes they are combined because people see them as synonyms of each other.

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From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.