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Epstein Barr Virus and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Early Growth Response Gene Upregulation in Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV)-Associated Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Biomolecules 2020, 10(11), 1484; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom10111484
by Jonathan Kerr. Dept of Microbiology, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), Colney Lane

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a chronic multisystem disease exhibiting a variety of symptoms and affecting multiple systems. Psychological stress and virus infection are important. Virus infection may trigger the onset, and psychological stress may reactivate latent viruses, for example, Epstein–Barr virus (EBV). It has recently been reported that EBV induced gene 2 (EBI2) was upregulated in blood in a subset of ME/CFS patients. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the pattern of expression of early growth response (EGR) genes, important in EBV infection and which have also been found to be upregulated in blood of ME/CFS patients, paralleled that of EBI2. EGR gene upregulation was found to be closely associated with that of EBI2 in ME/CFS, providing further evidence in support of ongoing EBV reactivation in a subset of ME/CFS patients. EGR1, EGR2, and EGR3 are part of the cellular immediate early gene response and are important in EBV transcription, reactivation, and B lymphocyte transformation. EGR1 is a regulator of immune function, and is important in vascular homeostasis, psychological stress, connective tissue disease, mitochondrial function, all of which are relevant to ME/CFS. EGR2 and EGR3 are negative regulators of T lymphocytes and are important in systemic autoimmunity.
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