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Our funded research: latest muscle dysfunction and immune findings

July 12, 2016

Two Newcastle University research studies funded by Action for M.E. have concluded, having investigated immune responses and muscle dysfunction in people with M.E.

Each research team has provided a lay summary of their findings, which we have linked to below and from our page detailing the research we fund.

Prof Stephen Todryk, Professor of Immunology, Department of Applied Sciences, Northumbria University, investigated the immune responses of people with M.E. in a £19,500 study joint-funded by Action for M.E. and the ME Association.

He found that those who were more severely affected had fewer natural killer cells and fewer bacteria-fighting antibodies, but more inflammatory interferon.

“The study of larger numbers of patients over a period of time will help to prove these associations, making these measurements useful for working out new and effective ways of diagnosing and treating CFS/M.E.,” says Prof Todryk in his lay summary.

Understanding muscle dysfunction in M.E.

In May 2012, Action for M.E. awarded £25,000 to Dr Phil Manning and Prof Julia Newton at Newcastle University for their study into muscle dysfunction.

The funding provided by Action for M.E. was matched by Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences to establish the Action for M.E. PhD Studentship, awarded to top science graduate, Gina Rutherford.

“In this project, muscle samples were obtained from CFS/M.E. patients in an attempt to investigate muscle function in more detail,” explains Gina in her lay summary.

“This research project did not find any evidence of biochemical or metabolic dysfunction in muscle cell samples obtained from CFS/M.E. patients. This contrasts previous work that has reported muscle dysfunction in CFS/M.E. patients following exercise. Further investigations are required to determine the biological basis of fatigue in CFS/M.E. patients.”