As discussed in the paper, there is more evidence for abnormal immunometabolism in ME/CFS. Maya utilized her expertise in flow cytometry and Seahorse flux analysis to demonstrate this dysfunction. She isolated natural killer (NK), helper T (CD4), and cytotoxic T (CD8) cell populations from both healthy donors and people with ME/CFS. These immune cell populations were studied in their circulating state and after stimulation. The stimulation process aims to mimic an immune response. Maya’s findings showed that all three of the cell types have an increased use of fats to power their activities when compared to healthy donors. Her results show that ME/CFS immune cells have a greater reliance on fats for energy when they are stimulated. Overall, these findings support the presence of an altered metabolic state in certain immune cells in individuals with ME/CFS.
Maya outlines these findings in her graphical and video abstracts inserted below.
Back in January 2020, Germain et al published a metabolomics paper in Metabolites stating:
The latest worldwide prevalence rate projects that over 65 million patients suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)…
This 65 million people with ME/CFS figure has brought about some attention resulting in this letter to the Editor. Importantly, this letter brings several more supporting references beyond the initial Valdez et alpublication. The key takeaway from the letter is that the prevalence of ME/CFS is likely much greater than the oft-cited figure of “20 million worldwide.”
This manuscript takes a look at 4,790 circulating plasma proteins from 20 ME/CFS women compared to 20 healthy women, over an unprecedented range, for ME/CFS, of 9 orders of magnitude.
Pathway analysis uncovered disrupted cell-to-cell communication, specifically in the ephrin-Eph signaling pathway. This pathway is crucial for many aspects of our body’s homeostasis, including development, physiology, and disease regulation.
Additionally, the paper outlines promising results for the development of a diagnostic test using protein ratios.
First author, Arnaud Germain, PhD, outlines these findings in a video abstract below.
Our MECFSnet collaborator, RTI, which operates the Data Management and Coordinating Center (DMCC) for the NIH ME/CFS Centers, has officially launched two research tools – mapMECFS and searchMECFS.
With mapMECFS, the Cornell ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center has worked promptly to submit data to the network. A total of 8 datasets are available. Below lists the publications from which the datasets have been uploaded.
On September 23, 2020, a CDC ME/CFS Stakeholder Engagement and Communication (SEC) call took place, featuring a presentation by Dr. Maureen Hanson, ENID Center Director, on “Immune Dysfunction in ME/CFS”. Dr. Elizabeth Unger, Branch Chief of CDC’s Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, provided CDC programmatic updates. The SEC call transcript, audio, and presentation slides are now available on the CDC’s website. Direct links to specific content, including Hanson’s slideshow presentation, are below.
On November 4-5, 2020, Cornell University and Weill Cornell Medicine held a COVID-19 Summit to exchange information about research into the disease ongoing at both institutions. Dr. Maureen Hanson presented a “flash” talk with three slides to introduce Cornell COVID-19 researchers to the similarity between long-haul COVID-19 and ME/CFS. Content from Hanson’s talk is below.
Center investigator Dr. Ludovic Giloteaux is lead author of a new publication out in the Journal of Translational Medicine. The paper describes cytokine profiling in extracellular vesicles (EVs) in ME/CFS. The study specifically looks at EVs from the plasma of 70 participants, 35 of which are diagnosed with ME/CFS and compared with 35 healthy controls. Both female and male participants were included in this work. Dr. Jesus Castro-Marrero visited our lab from Spain on a fellowship to contribute to the project.
One key finding of the study is the noted disturbances in cytokine networks.. Disturbances in these cytokine networks were seen in both plasma and EVs, and provides further evidence of immune dysregulation in ME/CFS. We are using information from this work to inform our further studies on EVs from blood collected before and after an exercise challenge. Stay tuned for future publications from our Center on this topic.
Center Director Dr. Maureen Hanson will be presenting current scientific research on ME/CFS during a panel session hosted by New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH). The session titled “Scientific Research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the Age of COVID-19” will be moderated by Dr. Charles Gonzalez. Dr. Ian Lipkin (Columbia University) and Dr. Avindra Nath (NIH) will be joining Hanson as panel presenters.
UPDATE: In case you missed the panel discussion, NYS DOH released a recording along with each presenter’s slides. Direct links to the recording and Dr. Hanson’s slides are below. Visit the NYS DOH ME/CFS website for more information.
Jessica Maya, a graduate student in the Genetics, Genomics, and Development Program at Cornell University in Maureen Hanson’s lab, talks about ME/CFS, the immune system response, and the fuels that energize immune cells to properly defend the body. This talk was adapted from Cornell University’s 3 Minute Thesis Finalists Round Competition, where she was tasked to explain her thesis work in under 3 minutes in an engaging form that could be understood by an intelligent audience with no background in the research area.
This methodologically focused review covers aspects of ME/CFS pathophysiology that are consistent with chronic enterovirus infection outcomes and then closely examines the technology used in in past ME/CFS publications to determine how rigorously the enterovirus theory of disease etiology has been investigated.