The official report from the international Invest in ME conference is now available on the Invest in ME website and is titled ‘IIMEC11 CONFERENCE REPORT by Dr Rosamund Vallings MB BS’
Click on the above title to go to the page, you will need to scroll down the page until you reach the ‘Conference Report’ heading, and click below that to open the report.
Here are some extracts from part of the report on Dr. Mady Hornig’s talk:
Detection of metabolites in the blood can help elucidate the effects of the microbiota as they move from the gut → blood →brain. This level of analysis (metabolomics) may help uncover abnormalities of both bacterial as well as host metabolism.
There is an innate immune response to viral and bacterial challenges, reflected in levels of cytokines and chemokines. Cytokines may enter brain through brain regions unprotected by the blood-brain barrier (BBB); inflammatory cytokines may also increase access of blood-borne substances to brain by helping to break down the integrity of the BBB. Cytokines entering brain may alter sympathetic activity and contribute to derangement of the autonomic nervous system, including abnormal orthostatic changes in pulse (e.g., POTS). Work underway was then discussed.
Their team uses a staged strategy for pathogen disarray in immune-mediated brain disorders. They have looked at DNA and RNA viral agents using multiplexed molecular assays, and are now revisiting whether infectious agents are present in peripheral blood mononuclear cells using a new and sensitive technique developed by Columbia’s Center for Infection and Immunity, known as VirCapSeq-VERT.
There are distinct plasma immune signatures for ME/CFS present early in the course of the illness that differ from patterns observed in the later stages of the illness. These phase-dependent immune patterns may have implications for how the disorder is treated of the course of illness. They are also looking at the cytokine network analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid in ME/CFS.
Finally, they are trying to tie all this back to the microbiota. Regulation of the processes is critical – keeping things well balanced. Some inflammation is necessary to protect against infectious illnesses, and also may be important in promoting key physiologic processes that affect energy production through the TCA cycle (citric acid cycle) as well as brain processes (memory, cognition); however, inflammation that is uncontrolled over time, persisting long after its initial trigger, has deleterious effects. There is much progress in our ongoing discovery of these mechanisms.