Cytokine network analysis in a community-based pediatric sample of patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome

Leonard A. Jason*, Caroline L. Gaglio, Jacob Furst, Mohammed Islam, Matthew Sorenson, Karl E. Conroy, Ben Z. Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Studies have demonstrated immune dysfunction in adolescents with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS); however, evidence is varied. The current study used network analysis to examine relationships between cytokines among a sample of pediatric participants with ME/CFS. Methods: 10,119 youth aged 5–17 in the Chicagoland area were screened for ME/CFS; 111 subjects and controls were brought in for a physician examination and completed a blood draw. Youth were classified as controls (Cs, N = 43), ME/CFS (N = 23) or severe (S-ME/CFS, N = 45). Patterns of plasma cytokine networks were analyzed. Results: All participant groups displayed a primary network of interconnected cytokines. In the ME/CFS group, inflammatory cytokines IL-12p70, IL-17A, and IFN-γ were connected and included in the primary membership, suggesting activation of inflammatory mechanisms. The S-ME/CFS group demonstrated a strong relationship between IL-17A and IL-23, a connection associated with chronic inflammation. The relationships of IL-6 and IL-8 in ME/CFS and S-ME/CFS participants also differed from Cs. Together, these results indicate pro-inflammatory responses in our illness populations. Discussion: Our data imply biological differences between our three participant groups, with ME/CFS and S-ME/CFS participants demonstrating an inflammatory profile. Examining co-expression of cytokines may aid in the identification of a biomarker for pediatric ME/CFS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChronic Illness
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • cytokine networks
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
  • network analysis
  • pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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