From the Lab of Ron Davis, PhD
New Neutrophil Study!
Neutrophil Assessment in ME/CFS
Ron Davis, PhD
Vanessa Velasco, PhD
Why Study Neutrophils in people with ME/CFS?
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system. They help your body to fight off infections, respond to allergens, and heal from injuries. Neutrophils form in the bone marrow and, once mature, circulate throughout your bloodstream, waiting for “invaders” (infections, allergens, or injuries).
When an invader attacks your body, they cause inflammation. Neutrophils are the first to act, moving to the tissue site, where they set traps and ingest the attackers. Once the threat is resolved, neutrophils clear out, and inflammation reduces.
ME/CFS patients have dysfunctional immune systems, though the complexity of the dysfunction makes it hard to define exactly what is happening. The symptoms of ME/CFS indicate a state of chronic inflammation; however, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to prove that.
In conditions with chronic inflammation—like Alzheimer’s disease, MS, and inflammatory bowel disease—neutrophil dysfunction (ND) occurs. With ND, neutrophil numbers that enter tissues become unbalanced and they may attack surrounding tissues, causing harm and leading to further inflammation. In addition, with ND, the process by which neutrophils are eliminated and cleared out of the system after the danger is resolved is also dysfunctional and can cause chronic inflammation.
What makes the OMF supported study unique?
Previous studies of neutrophils in ME/CFS have shown some abnormalities, with a variety of findings related to different measurements of neutrophil activity, but these studies have not yet fully defined neutrophil dysfunction and its potential contribution to chronic inflammation in the disease. Traditional methods of isolating neutrophils alter them and require a different setup for neutrophil inflammation studies. This study will first design and engineer an entirely new testing technology that will isolate the neutrophils from whole blood, without changing them, and will mimic the inflammatory conditions in the human body.
Using blood samples from both ME/CFS patients and healthy controls, this study will compare many different characteristics of neutrophils, both before and after inflammation, looking for differences and abnormalities. The scientists will then analyze multiple components of the data at once, rather than looking at one measurement at a time.
The ultimate goal of this study is to identify neutrophil abnormalities that are unique to ME/CFS patients. This could provide the basis for a new disease marker.
*Please note, OMF Collaborative Research Centers operate independently and recruit participants from local clinicians. This research study is not open for volunteers at this time.
In case you missed it, this year we are fundraising to support small clinical treatment trials.* If promising, small clinical treatment trials will lead to larger clinical trials on new and existing drugs. If found effective, small clinical trials are the best way to fast-track relief. Let’s make this year better than ever by restoring hope and health together.