Friday, October 9, 2009

More on XMRV

Prof. Kenny De Meirleir:

  Hi Friends, here is the long awaited paper!

  Lombardi, V.C. et al. 2009. Detection of an
  infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of
  patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Science,
  online October 8. - doi:10.1126/science.1179052


  ~jan van roijen: see below


  Retrovirus might be culprit in chronic fatigue syndrome

  People with the condition are much more
  likely than others to harbor a little-known

  By Nathan Seppa

  The long, fruitless search for the cause of chronic
  fatigue syndrome has taken a curious turn. Scientists
  report online October 8 in Science that an obscure
  retrovirus shows up in two-thirds of people
  diagnosed with the condition. The researchers also
  show the retrovirus can infect human immune cells.

  These findings don't establish that the pathogen,
  called gammaretrovirus XMRV, causes chronic
  fatigue, cautions study coauthor Robert Silverman, a
  molecular biologist at the Lerner Research Institute
  of the Cleveland Clinic.

  "Nevertheless, it's exciting because it is a viable
  candidate for a cause."

  Roughly 1 to 4 million people in the United States
  have chronic fatigue syndrome, according to the
  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  The condition shows up as mental and physical
  exhaustion, memory lapses, muscle pain, insomnia,
  digestive distress and other health problems.
  Doctors often diagnose chronic fatigue only after
  ruling out everything else. Its cause is unknown.

  In the new study, the researchers tested blood from
  101 people with chronic fatigue syndrome and found
  that 68 were infected with XMRV. When the
  scientists analyzed blood from 218 healthy people as
  a control group, only eight had the virus - 4 percent.
  The study participants lived in various parts of the
  United States.

  "This is a very striking association - two-thirds of
  the patients," says John Coffin, a virologist at Tufts
  University in Boston who wasn't involved in the
  study. A 4 percent infection rate in the healthy
  controls is also substantial, he notes, because it
  suggests that 10 million people in the United States
  are harboring this hidden infection.

  If the retrovirus indeed is found to cause chronic
  fatigue, the infected 4 percent in the control group
  might represent people who have been infected for a
  short time and haven't developed symptoms, or who
  have kept the virus in check, says study coauthor
  Judy Mikovits, a cell biologist at Whittemore
  Peterson Institute in Reno and at the University of
  Nevada, Reno.

  Based on its genetic makeup, XMRV arose from a
  mouse retrovirus that somehow jumped to humans.

  Mikovits asserts that the retroviral infection might
  result in an immune deficiency that leads to chronic
  fatigue symptoms.

  Retroviruses are known to attack the immune
  system, with HIV being the best-known example.
  this study, researchers showed that XMRV infected
  immune cells in the blood.

  "This may end the controversy as to whether there is
  an underlying infection in some cases of chronic
  fatigue syndrome, but is unlikely to explain all
  cases," says internist Dedra Buchwald of the
  University of Washington in Seattle.

  Retroviruses can awaken latent viruses already in
  cells. It is possible that chronic fatigue symptoms
  are caused not by XMRV but by other viruses that it
  activates, she says.

  Meanwhile, retroviruses harbor pro-growth genes,
  and some cause the blood cancer leukemia in
  animals and people.

  XMRV - or xenotropic murine-leukemia-virus-related
  virus - itself shows up in some men with prostate
  cancer, particularly those with aggressive
  malignancies, another research team reported last
  month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of

  Gammaretroviruses, a subset of retroviruses, also
  cause disease in gibbons, cats and koalas, Silverman
  says. "XMRV is the first member of this genus of
  retrovirus to be found in humans," he notes.

  In the new study, the researchers also found hints
  that the retrovirus is transmitted by blood, as are
  some other viruses, including HIV.

  But it's probably not spreading very fast, because
  people with chronic fatigue "are too sick to do
  anything," Mikovits says.

  Further research is under way to fine-tune testing for
  the retrovirus, and more blood analyses are planned
  that will clarify its occurrence rate in the general

  Mikovits and her colleagues are investigating
  already-approved antiretroviral drugs to see if these
  will benefit people who have chronic fatigue.


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