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Genetic assays on white blood cells yield results


(Craig Maupin at --10/03) -- A new study from researchers in the U.K. and France has found that white blood cells function differently in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a disabling flu-like disorder, than in healthy controls. In the study, which was published in the October edition of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, researchers at Southampton University Hospital found distinct differences in the genetic expression of white blood cells in CFS patients and healthy controls. Using an advanced technique called Differential Display, the researchers found that CFS patients had different "banding patterns". In total, twelve sequences were found to be overactivated in the expression of the white blood cells of CFS patients. The researchers state that the study was more evidence immune activation plays a role in CFS.

The U.K. study comes after CDC researchers performing similar studies found they also were able to differentiate CFS patients from controls using a similar technique. Instead of isolating white blood cells for analysis, the CDC researchers examined messenger RNA, which can reveal a more complete picture of the systemic and body-wide differences. They too have been able to differentiate CFS patients from healthy controls.

The study was welcomed by many as hope for a modernized direction for CFS research in the U.K. For years, CFS research in the U.K. has been strictly guarded by a controversial group of researchers who have stridently contended that microbiological research for CFS should not be funded. But experts contend that genetic profiling is highly accurate and reliable, and have encouraged a more modern approach to CFS research that takes into account and expands a plethora recent discoveries. Recent research confirms that CFS is a disease with a microbiological foundation. More studies using genetic profiling will follow in the coming months.