PD Dr. J. Gaab & Prof. Dr. U. Ehlert
Projektmitarbeiter: Heitz, V., Engert, V., Schad, T.
Kooperationspartner: Dr. rer.nat. N. Rohleder, Universität Düsseldorf, Prof. Dr. med. T.H. Schürmeyer, Forschungszentrum für Psychobiologie und Psychosomatik, Universität Trier, Deutschland
Forschungsförderung: Schweizer National Fonds SNF
Alterations of the
immune-neuroendocrine interplay have been described in chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS). Employing a recently developed method, the study set
out to investigate whether patients with CFS have an altered
sensitivity to glucocorticoids when under stress.21 CFS patients and 20
healthy age- and gender-matched controls underwent a standardized
psychosocial stress test (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). Salivary and
plasma cortisol levels were measured repeatedly following exposure to
the stressor. GC sensitivity was assessed in vitro by dexamethasone
inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-stimulated production of interleukin-6
and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Cortisol responses following the TSST
did not differ significantly between CFS patients and healthy controls.
GC sensitivity differed significantly between CFS patients and healthy
controls, with CFS patients showing a greater sensitivity towards GCs
(TNF-?: F(1/39) = 7.32, P = 0.01; IL-6: F(1/39) = 9.73, P = 0.004).
Consistent with recent evidence, CFS patients are characterized by an
enhanced sensitivity to glucocorticoids. The implications for secondary
processes, such as the regulatory influence of glucocorticoids on
immune processes, are discussed.
Gaab, J., Rohleder, N., Heitz, V., Schürmeyer, T.H., Ehlert, U. (2003).
Enhanced glucocorticoid sensitivity in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 15, 184-191