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Chronic viral immune activation, possible?

Discussion in 'Immunological' started by Waverunner, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    After asking a few patients from Dr Bieger about their results, it seems that while many are negative to EBV and XMRV according to a genetic expression profile most of them have increased values for unspecific viral immune activation. Dr Bieger told me that he does not know which virus is causing this but he is in favor of treating his patients with antivirals directed against herpes viruses.

    The question I ask myself and the question that I find so annoying is:

    Under what circumstances will a normal human body not be able to rid itself from a virus e.g. flu-virus or put in other words, is it possible that a human body suffers from chronic flu infection?

    I'm a complete layman but would it be possible that the human body tries to clear a virus but is stuck and fails to do so? Imagine a plane that tries to start but cannot move because someone forgot to remove the big brake pads. The pilot will increase thrust but the plane doesn't move while at the same time it will use a lot of fuel for nothing.

    The body directs its immune system towards the virus but something goes wrong so that the virus cannot be cleared but the immune system keeps being ramped up. Under this condition I can imagine that the activated immune system over time wears down the human body and causes all kinds of syptoms we encounter with CFS. I know that EBV, XMRV etc. could be a cause of CFS but what if we all suffer from a misguided immune system that for whatever reason fails to clear a certain viruses (may it be XMRV, EBV, HHV6, flu virus or whatever)? Would this be possible?
    AnkeC likes this.
  2. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I know what you mean Waverunner.

    I've got sheets of abnormal immune system results but the only model I can find for why - is soemthing like a retrovirus causing the problem to start with. I've found treating my herpes family viruses very useful but it's not the end of the problem for me and doesn't explain all the other infections I pick up.

    My poblems with ME started overnight (acute viral onset) and there was no gradual grinding down of the immune system.
    Hopefully others will have some better ideas here.
  3. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    A person with a normal functioning immune system normally suppresses these viruses that are common in the cfs community, so they dont have any ill effects. Now lets give this person the immunesystem of a cfs patient, nk cells dont work so viruses like ebv,cmv,hhv6 can be easily reactivated. Some lymphocyte subsets will be depressed and some activated, i always like to mention that cd8 lymphocytes elevated are common in ebv,cmv viral reactivation, so know we hVE A PERSON WHO REGULARLY get mono from a couple of different viruses and might be lucky if theres 2 months of the year where they arent infected, our bodies become a breeding ground for infections.

    We just need thr right drugs that arent over priced and get it sorted.
  4. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    Some viruses are caught by virtually everyone (95% or so), and stay in the body forever. This is completely normal. The Herpes viruses do this routinely, as do some others ... so if you ever had mono or chicken pox (you probably have), then you keep them for the rest of your life.

    Healthy immune systems keep these viruses supressed. It sounds like the supressed viruses will hide in cells and stay out of trouble, unless the cell they're in is damaged. Then they come out and try to cause mayhem, and may succeed if the immune system is now having difficulty smacking them down.

    So it seems more likely that something is going wrong before these viruses come out of hiding, to cause the cellular damage ... though the thing going wrong could be another virus itself. For example, one of the less common Herpes viruses is suspected of re-activating one of the universal Herpes viruses.
  5. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Thanks for the answers. When do you think will we have a working treatment for CFS?

    EDIT: Can anyone tell the difference between cold and flu. I always thought that you have to get infected by the flu virus through another person for example. Contrary to that is it correct that a cold (which is also caused through a virus) does not require infection through another person because the virus is inherited in us and gets activated when our immune system is weak.
  6. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi waverunner, I haven't looked at colds and flus for maybe eleven years, although I had read many papers on this back then. If my memory serves me the difference is the types of viruses involved. One of the problems with this though is that some viruses do produce flu-like symptoms but are not themselves an influenza virus. I think influenza has very specific viral strains, whereas very large numbers of viral strains are thought to cause colds.

    My common and pragmatic understand of the difference, which is not based on my reading of the science so I could easily be wrong, is that a cold is unlikely to give you a fever and muscle aches, but a flu will.

    Bye
    Alex
  7. mellster

    mellster Marco

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    It's not different for a cold, it needs to be passed on by another person. Sometimes the cold or flu virus can survive for a while on say a door-handle and you can catch it by touching it and then bringing your hands to your ENT area. I don't know what specific pathogen would cause chronic viral immune activation, but I believe this theory to be true. I don't understand why some pick up anything and some simply don't get cold/flu sick anymore outside their ME symptoms.
  8. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    It's well established that herpes class viruses (hhv-1 through hhv-8) remain latent in the human body once the acute infection in past.

    A healthy immune system keeps these viruses latent and they do no (known) harm in that state. They can, however, reactivate. Shingles (reactivated hhv-3/chicken pox) and cold sores/genital herpes outbreaks (reactivated hhv1/2) are some well-known examples. Shingles is more common in the elderly than in the young because human immune systems tend to weaken as we age.

    Most herpesvirus infections either aren't tested for or the existing tests are extremely inadequate to the purpose.

    Many, many times general practice doctors misinterpret the results of hhv-4 (EBV), hhv-6, and possibly hhv-5 tests and tell ME patients that they don't have reactivated or chronic infections. This usually happens, I think, because most doctors' diagnosis algorithms assume that we have healthy immune systems.

    In other words, if you had HIV, looked and felt like you had mono, and had the herpesvirus titres many of us have, most doctors would worry that you had a reactivated herpesvirus infection of some kind. But because healthy people can have high herpesvirus titres, and these doctors "know" we don't have suppressed immune systems, they assume we are among the healthy-with-high-titres crowd and tell us we "don't have" those infections.

    Since 99%+ of the population have multiple latent herpesvirus infections, the likelihood is very good that people with weakened immune systems will have reactivated/chronic herpesvirus infections of some kind. Drs Lerner and Montoya have identified hhv-4 (EBV), hhv-5 (CMV), and hhv-6 as fairly commonly reactivated herpesvirus infection in PWME.

    The critical question, IMO, is not whether PWME have reactivated/chronic herpesvirus infections, but rather why are our immune systems are allowing these usually latent infections to reactivate. An immune-system-damaging retrovirus would be one good explanation, but there could certainly be others.

    To my way of thinking, strong antivirals can greatly improve the quality of life for many PWME by reducing the symptoms/damage from reactivated herpesvirus infections. However, until we know why our immune systems can't keep these viruses in latency, we'll always be susceptible to future reactivations.
  9. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Can't add to this Sickofcfs but what you say sounds very likely to me. I've just had an interesting reaction of Herpes Simplex (unknown for years) following high dose Amoxcillan after dental (root extractions) which much much improved GI problems (masses of Probiotics followed). Latent viruses however are not controlled.
  10. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Seems like I heard recently that some of our docs are thinking about neurological infections with herpes simplex as a possible complication of ME. Wish I could remember where I heard it. :D

    What was your interesting rxn of herpes simplex, if you don't mind saying?
  11. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    I'm not sure if this is the right thread for this, but your discussion is making me wonder about my own ME. I haven't been tested for the herpes viruses. But a year before I got sick, I visited a friend's house for several days. 24 hours into it, my friend's child came down with chicken pox. I have never had chicken pox, but as I was already exposed, I stayed for the rest of my trip. I never got any chicken pox symptoms. Then, approximately a year later, I got acute viral onset ME.

    Now I wonder, could the two things be related? Should I get tested for the herpes viruses?
  12. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I would say it would be a good idea to get tested except that it's probably pointless unless you get a doctor who can interpret the results correctly. Might be worth reading up at Stanford's ME/CFS site. I hear there's a lot of good info there, but haven't spent much time there myself. :D
  13. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    I looked at the Stanford site a little. It goes over the tests they do, and the success they've had with valacyclovir (Valtrex) in treating herpes complex viruses in ME/CFS patients. There's only a short paragraph about proper interpretation of the tests -- I'm not sure it's enough to give good direction to a general MD like mine. However, even so, I think I may print out some of their information and bring it to my doctor. We'll see how it goes...
  14. allyb

    allyb Senior Member

    I am brand new to this. I have just looked at your post in disbelief as what you have put has happened to me. I had never been ill untill a root extraction in hospital with intraveinous antibiotics Oct 2010. In the months that followed, I then came out with blisters in my mouth then nose then eyes. (Having never even had a cold sore or anything.) I was put on an antiviral Feb 2011 and I went down with 3 weeks plus of fever/flu like symptoms. Nothing showed on the MRI but I was on aciclovir!! and I had a horrendous reaction for 13days, then I was taken off them. I have never recovered from this. I have since suffered all physical symptoms of ME cronically. 29th April I was given Famciclovir by an oncall Dr for mouth blisters. I was totally terrified of taking them because of the aciclovir. But.... unexpectedly, not only was I OK with them but they cleared the weird head sensations and I could walk about a little and sit up. Over the next two months I went down hill, again(Dr's wouldn't prescribe without blisters) Then I couldn't stand without my blood pressure being critically low. I got another 7 day course, same improvement!? Started going down hill again, bedfast now again. Would love to hear from you or anyone with simular.
  15. mellster

    mellster Marco

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    I have recently had my VZV titers checked and will pick up results soon. I think chronic viral immune activation is very possible.
  16. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    The defination of cold and flu isnt defined on how we are catching them.. as both are viruses which one needs to catch to get.

    from a medical dictionary "Common Cold
    Definition
    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, including the nose, throat, sinuses, eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes. Although more than 200 different viruses can cause a cold, 30-50% are caused by a group known as rhinoviruses. Almost all colds clear up in less than two weeks without complications.
    Description
    Colds, sometimes called rhinovirus or coronavirus infections"

    Where flu is what is called Influenza which has the following defination " influenza is a highly infectious respiratory disease. The disease is caused by certain strains of the influenza virus.

    When the virus is inhaled, it attacks cells in the upper respiratory tract, causing typical flu symptoms such as fatigue, fever and chills, a hacking cough, and body aches. Influenza victims are also susceptible to potentially life-threatening secondary infections. Although the stomach or intestinal "flu" is commonly blamed for stomach upsets and diarrhea, the influenza virus rarely causes gastrointestinal symptoms. Such symptoms are most likely due to other organisms such as rotavirus, Salmonella, Shigella, or Escherichia coli. "

    So the difference is different viruses are involved.
  17. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    This is true of course but please tell me why humans catch a cold when their body cools down. I can go out into the snow during winter with a t-shirt and shorts on and I will catch a cold. Why? Because I carry the virus in me and my immune system gets weakened. It's not like I get infected with the virus and then start getting symptoms. I carry the virus, weaken my immune system and then get ill. This is not the same for influenza.

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