第7弾 MEと免疫システムといくつかのウイルスについて

Web Seminar by Prof. dr. K. de Meirleir,

broadcast on December 14th, 2012


Disturbance of the immune system is most probably due to infections. With half of the patients these are a clear starting point. An infectious, flu-like syndrome occurred which set a number of things in motion.


The body may or may not be able to cope with infections. Some infections never disappear and settle within the body. In this condition the interaction between the immune system and infections has also been disturbed. We observe that the immune system cannot cope with a number of infections , nor keep them sufficiently under control.


It is our view that with this condition several multiple infections are active simultaneously and that the immune system isn’t able to get control over them. We think they also play a role in the process of the condition becoming chronic. Because they are continuously stirring up part of the immune system. With the condition becoming chronic, another part of the immune system gets weaker and can’t function in a normal way. For instance there’s a very obvious connection with enteroviruses. An American has proved that over 80% of ME-patients have an enterovirus in their stomach and can’t cope with it. Which he found with just 20% of the normal population. This implies that the enteroviruses are not the cause of the condition, but that the immune system isn’t able to control them. When with 20% of normal people enteroviruses are to be found as well, one can conclude that this most probably isn’t the cause of the condition. Just that this is a phenomenon which has to do with an altered immune system.


Other viruses like, for instance, the Epstein-Barr virus, the Herpes-6 virus, the cytomegalovirus and the parvovirus B19 are present in elevated levels in ME-patients. This also has to do with the Th1-immunity which has become weaker with ME-patients and which can’t cope with the infections. Herpes-6 has been emphasized, as it can both cause a weaker immunity in itself as well as be chronically active because of that weakened immunity. And it can cause all kinds of conditions within the body, which range from epilepsy to cardiac disorder etc. This perfectly fits the picture of ME. Here again no acute virus is involved, but a virus which stays latent with most people and is found in increased measures and quantities with these cases.


The defense mechanism against bacterial infections is disturbed in ME-patients as well. Chlamydial infections, Mycoplasma and quite a lot of other intercellular infections are chronically present. With thorough examination one is able to measure quite a few infections. And one suspects them to play a role in the entire context of this condition. But then this also has to do with cellular immunity, the Th1-immunity malfunctioning. And as a consequence similar viruses are kept in check with difficulty.


With such patients parasites, primarily intestinal ones like Giardia and plastocytes, also occur in much larger quantities. All this indicates an anomaly of the immune system. Larger studies, mainly from outside Europe but some of them in Europe, show a shift within the immune system, within the cellular immunity. There’s a mutation in the so-called CD8 positive T-cells, the number of which at times is much lower. It’s a well known fact that the natural killer cells, i.e. cells which absorb and kill tumor cells as well as viruses, are functioning less and at times are extremely low in number.


We notice that in reaction to the presence of micro-organisms more inflammatory cytokines occur – substances of our white blood cells which are connected to the production of interleukins and so called chemokines. At times within the blood of one single patient we find larger numbers of up to ten different interleukins or cytokines. This also causes a gamut of consequences.


Presently our main focus is on an enzyme called nagalase. Compared to normal people 97% of our patients show a higher level of nagalase. Higher nagalase counts result in bad functioning of the macrophages – white blood cells in our tissues which also absorb particles that have to be removed. Macrophages are immunogenic and stimulate the immune system to remove, for instance, bacteria and viruses.


And I’m definitely not complete with this list of immune deviations. There’s a large range of immune deviations which can be clearly identified . But classic medicine doesn’t want to hear of them yet. Because scientifically their existence has been shown, but their clinical application hasn’t been proven yet.


Nagalase – what is it?


Nagalase is a protein, a substance which breaks down another protein we need to activate our macrophages. At a certain point our macrophages have to be stimulated to absorb alien particles. Nagalase prevents this. Quite a few sources of nagalase are known. The HIV-virus and certain intestinal bacteria, for example, produce nagalase. This too is subject to study right now. Which nagalase actually is more frequent in ME-patients and where it originates.