Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) believe that blood may hold vital insights into what is happening in the brain of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
In a study unparalleled in its scope, a team led by UNSW Professor Andrew Lloyd of the Centre for Infection and Inflammation Research, has studied the differences in gene expression patterns in the blood of people who either recover promptly after acute glandular fever or develop the prolonged illness called post-infective syndrome.
The researchers examined six million pieces of gene expression information for analysis in the project, known as the Dubbo Infection Outcomes Study. The study is named after the NSW town in which the work was conducted. The team studied the expression of 30,000 genes in the blood, testing each of the 15 individuals between four and five times over a 12-month period.
The team was able to narrow its findings to the expression of just 35 genes whose pattern of expression correlated closely with the key symptoms of the illness when examined from onset through to recovery. Gene expression is significant because it is the process by which a gene’s DNA sequence is converted into the proteins which ultimately determine the manifestations of disease.
The research paper has been published and selected for editorial comment in the prestigious Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Since 1999, the team has been tracking the long-term health of individuals infected with Ross River virus (RRV), Q fever infection and Epstein-Barr virus, which causes glandular fever.
“These  genes might point to the nature of the disease process that underlies CFS, which is currently unknown,” said Professor Lloyd, who is based in the School of Medical Sciences at UNSW. “None of them are ones that I would have predicted, except for those relating to neurotransmitters,” he concedes. “Some of them relate to transport of zinc and other metal ions within the cell, which may suggest a fundamental disturbance in cellular function.”
The researchers now hope to take narrow the focus of research onto the expression of these 35 genes in the blood of a much larger group of subjects from the Dubbo Infection Outcomes Study, with varied patterns of illness and recovery.
“There are very few complex diseases which have been comprehensively analysed, with large scale and longitudinal studies, like this,” said Professor Lloyd. “It sets a standard for highly sophisticated, comprehensive gene expression studies in the blood of all sorts of human diseases from rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis through to schizophrenia.”
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- How Zika Infects The Placenta
- Sweet Irony: The Environmental Impacts Of GMO Sugar Science Denial
- Baby Talk Words With Repeated Sounds Help Infants Learn Language
- Case For Moon: Humanity's Gateway To Solar System Exploration, Open Ended, Planetary Protection At Its Heart
- Schrödinger's Cat Is Not Just Alive And Dead, He's Both In 2 Places At Once
- B0 Meson Lifetime Difference Measured By ATLAS
- Italian Food Scientists Are Tired Of Phony Cheese
- "Correction, I say that 20 kg of algae solution was needed per person to provide all the oxygen..."
- "Very interesting article Edzard. Not that I disagree with you and those who commented, I would..."
- "Great article about a great study. What is known of African American history jibes with this..."
- "Sweet simple and to the point. The anti sexual harassment training could begin and end right..."
- "Am I correct when I state virus can exchange certain molecules with other virus? If that is the..."
- Our Audience Is Up 700% – And Anti-Science Groups Are Going Nuts
- Tiny Vampires of the Ancient Seas
- Incentivizing Antibiotic Research
- Party Drug for Post-Surgical Pain Prevention
- Hey De Blasio-Get Off Your Sodium Podium!
- The Name Game: How Unethical Environmental Groups and Toxic Fanatics Scare You With Words