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Has anyone heard of the "interferon status test" (measures leukocyte IFN alpha and gamma production)

Discussion in 'Antivirals, Antibiotics and Immune Modulators' started by Hip, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Recently a Russian ME/CFS patient posted some very interesting info on my website about the interferon status test which he had done in Russia. This test he says measures the ability of leukocytes (white blood cells) to produce interferon alpha and gamma.

    Has anyone come across this interferon status test in the US or Europe? I could not find any such test when I looked online.

    This Russian patient told me that this test showed that the interferon-producing ability of his leukocytes was 16 times smaller than normal, and he said that that this finding helped convince both himself and his doctors that his illness is not psychosomatic.

    He speculated that this low interferon status might be the reason he had such a severe viral infection in the first place; or that the low status might be the result of the immunosuppressive action of the virus.

    I had never heard of this interferon status test before, but it might be interesting for ME/CFS patients and their doctors to explore interferon status.

    This ME/CFS patient (who has had ME/CFS for one year) told me that he had a significant improvement in his ME/CFS symptom after two months on low dose naltrexone (LDN). He said that after two months LDN:

    1) Brain fog almost totally eliminated
    2) Fatigue reduced by 90%
    3) Myalgia reduced by 70%
    4) Senses of smell, taste and touch all gradually returning

    So obviously he did very well on LDN. But what was most interesting was that when he took the interferon status test once more after two months on LDN, his interferon status increased by 4-fold!

    So in his case, the major improvement in symptoms he got from LDN corresponded with a major improvement in his interferon status. So it's quite possible that his increased interferon levels were the cause of his improved symptoms.

    If we can find an interferon status test in the US and Europe, it might be a good way to gauge the efficacy of the immunomodulators ME/CFS patients often experiment with. We could use such a test to work which immunomodulators most effectively raise interferon.

    And in general, the data from the interferon status test might have value in ME/CFS research. I am not sure why this test does not seem to be available in the West. I have never heard of it, anyway, and could not find any info about it online.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
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  2. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

    Midwest USA
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  3. Aileen

    Aileen Senior Member

    If we could get this kind of testing it sounds like one way of identifying a subgroup of patients. That would be huge!!
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  4. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

    Well spotted @Ema. I couldn't find those when I was Googling. I wonder if any ME/CFS doctors have used such tests.
  5. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards "Gibberish"

    My understanding is that several research groups have looked at interferon level s in serum in mE and at least a few have looked at production by white cells. The consensus is that there is not much difference in serum levels across the board between ME and healthy controls although there may be some differences between subgroups. I have not heard of any reearch groups reporting low interferon production by white cells. Most reports of white cell studies report incresed cytokine production if anything.

    I would be surprised if interferon production was low in ME. It might allow viruses to multiply but the you would expect the result to be local signs like rash or shingles, not feeling generally unwell, since interferon is one of things known to make people feel unwell.

    Unless there are published research studies on this I would be very sceptical about its relevance. White cell populations in the blood change quite a lot with time of day and exercise and I am not aware of any other diseases where measurements like this have proved reliable.
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  6. halcyon

    halcyon Senior Member

    Yeah, it seems like the ubiquitous flu-like symptoms we all experience points to increased rather than decreased interferon production.

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