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J Neuroimmunol. 2001 Oct 1;119(2):343-9.

LPS-induced IL-10 production in whole blood cultures from chronic fatigue syndrome patients is increased but supersensitive to inhibition by dexamethasone.

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Division of Immunological and Infectious Diseases, TNO Prevention and Health, P.O. Box 2215, 2301 CE, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Several causes have been held responsible for the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), including an altered hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA)-axis activity, viral infections and a reduced Th1 activity. Therefore, it was investigated whether the regulation of IL-10 is different in CFS. LPS-induced cytokine secretion in whole blood cultures showed a significant increase in IL-10 and a trend towards a decrease in IL-12 as compared with healthy controls. In patients and controls, IL-12 secretion was equally sensitive to suppression by dexamethasone, whereas IL-10 secretion appeared more sensitive in CFS-patients. In controls, IL-10 and IL-12 secretion were inversely correlated with free serum cortisol (r=-0.492, p<0.02 and r=-0.434, p<0.05, respectively). In CFS, such an inverse correlation was found for IL-12 (r=-0.611, p<0.02) but not for IL-10 (r=-0.341, ns). These data are suggestive for a disturbed glucocorticoid regulation of IL-10 in CFS.

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