Identification of CD8 T-cell dysfunction associated with symptoms in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long COVID and treatment with a nebulized antioxidant/anti-pathogen agent in a retrospective case series

The study titled “Identification of CD8 T-cell dysfunction associated with symptoms in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long COVID and treatment with a nebulized antioxidant/anti-pathogen agent in a retrospective case series” provides critical insights into the potential pathogenesis and treatment of Long COVID and ME/CFS.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Background:

  • This research examines the similarities in symptomatology between Long COVID and ME/CFS, suggesting shared aspects in their pathogenesis. Both conditions are complex, often follow an infection-like episode, and involve diverse organ systems and biological processes. Chronic manifestations in these diseases might result from altered host responses to infection or an inability to resolve inflammation​​.

Methods and Findings:

  • The study involved analyzing CD8 T-cell function and symptom severity in ME/CFS and Long COVID patients, along with healthy controls. A CD8 T-cell functional assay was developed, using intracellular cytokine staining to assess CD8 T-cell dysfunction. This assessment included 12 ME/CFS patients, 8 Long COVID patients, and 10 healthy controls, matched for age and sex.
  • The key finding was that CD8 T-cells from both ME/CFS and Long COVID patients showed a significantly diminished capacity to produce cytokines IFNγ and TNFα following stimulation. This indicated a severe dysfunction in CD8 T-cells in these patient groups compared to healthy controls​​.

Conclusions:

  • The study makes two critical observations. Firstly, both Long COVID and ME/CFS are characterized by dysfunctional CD8 T-cells, with a severe deficiency in their ability to produce key cytokines. Secondly, in a small retrospective case series, patients with Long COVID and ME/CFS showed improvement in both immune dysfunction and overall health following treatment with an immunomodulatory antioxidant pharmacological treatment that also has anti-pathogen activity.
  • These findings underscore the potential utility of CD8 T-cell dysfunction as a biomarker and suggest that the nebulized antioxidant/anti-pathogen treatment could be beneficial. This approach might aid in diagnosis and tracking treatment outcomes in clinical trials, offering new insights into treatment strategies for both Long COVID and ME/CFS​​.

In summary, this study sheds light on the underlying immune dysfunction in Long COVID and ME/CFS and opens avenues for potential treatment strategies that target this dysfunction.

Read More: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666354623001345

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