NCF Reports on New Marker Found in Patients with ME/CFIDS!
By Alan Cocchetto  2001

The National CFIDS Foundation is now reporting that myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients are obtaining abnormal test results for serum chromogranin-A. To our knowledge, this is the first time this finding has been reported upon for CFS patients.

With the help from several physicians, located throughout the US, in cooperation with the NCF's staff, several CFS patients were tested
for serum chromogranin-A and out of 7 test results, 6 were abnormal!  Other test results are in-the-pipeline! 

What is chromogranin-A and what can this tell us? Well, chromogranins are a family of proteins identified in secretory granules found throughout the neuroendocrine system. Chromogranins are also found in neurons in both the central and peripheral nervous systems as well.

Chromogranin-A is one such protein that has been used as a diagnostic in human diseases which include pheochromocytoma and neuroendocrine neoplasias. These neoplasms have included parathyroid adenomas, thyroid carcinomas, small-cell lung carcinomas, pancreatic tumors, aortic body tumors, and carcinoid tumors. 

Chromogranin-A, however, has also been useful in the diagnosis of diseases associated with alterations in sympathoadrenal activity. Since chromogranin-A is present in secretory vesicles containing catecholamines and considering the role that catecholamines play in blood pressure regulation - this is most intriguing in CFS in light of the current work on neurally mediated hypotension (NMH).

Furthermore, medical research suggests a relationship between endocrine gut cell population in patients with celiac disease and chromogranin-A levels.  This is of interest in CFS due to the recent findings of celiac disease in some of these patients. (See accompanying Forum article) Chromogranin-A could be a measure of the abnormalities in the gastrointestinal track and this is why
oncologists use this as a measure for carcinoid tumors in the intestine. 

The National CFIDS Foundation encourages CFS patients to discuss the potential role of celiac disease along with the non-invasive serum chromogranin-A test with their physicians. Serum chromogranin-A testing is available through Specialty Labs in California.

Source: Chromogranins: Functional and Clinical Aspects; Plenum Publishers,  New York; 2000

[Ed. Note:  Specialty Laboratories may be reached, toll-free (in US), at 1-800-421-7110.]  

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606