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By Medical Committee, National CFIDS Foundation, Inc.©

From Spring 2013 Forum

Recently, the National CFIDS Foundation set out to review and report on several newer CFIDS/ME markers that have been identified by researchers — some of which have been reported upon at conferences or in journals while others have not. In this column, the NCF will discuss these marker sets in relation to the effects of ionizing radiation.

The first marker we will look at briefly is one that has been extensively discussed previously in the NCF Forum newsletter. It is STAT1, a critical protein that had been found to be abnormal in CFIDS/ME patients [1,2]. Research grant funding by the NCF subsequently confirmed STAT1 abnormalities in its own patient group as well as in NIH samples tested by Dr. Robert Suhadolnik at Temple University [3]. Research completed by scientists at the H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida has revealed that among the top 500 genes examined using a biomarker discovery platform, STAT1 was among the top ten components influenced by radiation [4]. This is in agreement with the NCF's findings and disease model.

The second marker is elastase which is highly upregulated in CFIDS/ME [5]. It is an important characteristic in the development of myelodysplasia and acute myeloid leukemia [6,7]. Elastase has a profound influence on myeloid cells in the bone marrow. Furthermore, elastase is upregulated by ionizing radiation [8].

The third marker is for aberrant prion disease in patients with CFIDS/ME [9]. Prions are misfolded proteins that are responsible for the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in a variety of mammals, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, also known as "mad cow disease") in cattle and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (CJD) in humans [10]. All known prion diseases affect the structure of the brain or other neural tissue and all are currently untreatable and universally fatal. However, prion proteins and ECTO-NOX proteins share several overlapping characteristics. The NCF has consulted with a leading scientist and authority regarding these proteins. This effort will be formally discussed in the next Forum. Needless to say however, prion protein expression has been detected in the lymphocytes of women who have been exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation [11].

The forth and last marker makes use of a chemical assay to test body fluids (typically urine) in CFIDS/ME patients for metabolites that react to a specific dye compound known as tetrazolium [12]]. Using this dye, the inventors found that the urinary analysis correlated well with the disease state of the patient. The NCF has found that tetrazolium has been used to determine the dose of ionizing radiation [13]].

As research continues worldwide, there are numerous correlations and associations between ionizing radiation exposure and various biological markers identified as a result of these efforts. These explanations are meant to alert CFIDS/ME patients to the importance of these findings as well as their relationship to ionizing radiation exposure.


  1. Methods for diagnosis and treatment of chronic immune diseases; US Patent Application # 20090197281; Inventors: Fremont M, Englebienne P, Herst CVT; Dated: August 6, 2009
  2. Methods for diagnosis and treatment of chronic immune diseases; US Patent Application # 20030077674; Inventors: Fremont M, Englebienne P, Herst CVT; Dated: April 24, 2003
  3. Potential Role of STAT1 in the Pathogenesis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Knox KK, Carrigan DR; 2003,
  4. Systems biology modeling of the radiation sensitivity network: a biomarker discovery platform; Eschrich S, Zhang H, Zhao H, Boulware D, Lee JH, Bloom G, Torres-Roca JF; Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Oct 1;75(2):497-505
  5. Diagnostic methods for measuring elastase activity levels; US Patent Application # 20080193957; Inventors: Englebienne P, DeMeirleir K, Herst CVT; Dated: August 14, 2008
  6. Newest grant recipient; The National FORUM; Spring 2009
  7. NCF 2011 Research Update — Cairo University and Weizmann Institute of Science Studies; The National FORUM; Summer 2011
  8. Single-dose gamma-irradiation induces up-regulation of chemokine gene expression and recruitment of granulocytes into the portal area but not into other regions of rat hepatic tissue; Malik IA, Moriconi F, Sheikh N, Naz N, Khan S, Dudas J, Mansuroglu T, Hess CF, Rave-Fränk M, Christiansen H, Ramadori G; Am J Pathol. 2010 Apr;176(4):1801-15
  9. Methods for the detection and treatment of aberrant prion disease; US Patent Application # 20120015390; Inventors: Roelant C, DeMeirleir K; Dated: January 19, 2012
  10. Wikipedia:
  11. Expression of cellular isoform of prion protein on the surface of peripheral blood lymphocytes among women exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation; Klucinski P, Mazur B, Hrycek A, Masluch E, Cieslik P, Kaufman J, Martirosian G; Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007 Dec;14(2):225-8
  12. Methods and kits for detecting, diagnosing and monitoring diseases; US Patent Application # 20120077278; Inventors: Roelant C, DeMeirleir K; Dated: March 29, 2012
  13. Use of tetrazolium salts in dosimetry of ionizing radiation; Pikaev AK, Kriminskaya ZK; Radiation Physics and Chemistry 1998 52[1-6]: 555–561

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