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Autoimmunity and Autoantibodies in ME/CFS

Investigate potential differences in adrenergic and muscarinic receptor autoantibody levels in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls, examine why these autoantibodies start to show up in the disease process and how we might positively impact this process with various drug targets and immune regulatory treatments. Being able to explain these underlying mechanisms may provide the validation needed for specific ongoing treatments.

  • Jonas Bergquist, MD, PhD, Prof, Director ScD
  • Annie Bynke, Med Student, PhD
  • Per Julin, MD, PhD , MD
  • CG Gottfries, MD, PhD, Prof em
  • Carmen Scheibenbogen, MD, PhD, Prof
  • Completed validation study on the presence of autoantibodies in plasma in two Swedish ME/CFS cohorts, and paper published.
  • Observed a significant up-regulation of autoantibodies in up to 70% of patients. Significantly increased autoantibodies against adrenergic and muscarinic receptors have been found in the plasma of ME/CFS patients.
  • No autoantibodies could be found in CFS, which is positive news as that would make the removal of autoantibodies very difficult.
  • Preliminary studies using immunoadsorption and / or plasmapheresis to remove autoantibodies show positive effects in at least a sub-population of ME/CFS patients.


Collection of data from expanded ME cohort and COVID cohort ongoing and should be ready for evaluation in fall 2023. Analysis in Berlin planned for.



The development of autoimmune antibodies is a consistent finding across HSE, ME/CFS, Long COVID and provide a window into the neurocognitive disturbances, peripheral symptoms, POTS, pain, and other targets of these autoantibodies.

Previously, autoantibodies have been observed to have increased binding to adrenergic and muscarinic receptors in ME/CFS patients. It is hypothesized

that these autoantibodies may be part of the pathogenesis of ME/CFS and patient symptom.


Plasma, CSF and health-related questionnaires were collected from two Swedish ME / CFS cohorts, plasma and CSF from one of the cohorts (n=24), only plasma from the second cohort (n=24) together with plasma samples (n=24) and CSF (n=6) from healthy controls.

All samples were analyzed for IgG autoantibodies directed against adrenergic and muscarinic receptors ELISA technique. The questionnaires were used as measures of disease severity.

This study has been published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity – Health

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

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