Low CD57 /NK cells - what does that mean?


Senior Member
Hi everyone,

I just got my latest lab results. It was the first time ever I have been seen by a CFS specialist so I'm very excited. He is going to call me next week to discuss them with me but I just would like to know what the following might mean:

CD57+ NKcells: 27 (60-360)

I don't have lyme, this is the only context I have found for a low CD57.

Supposedly I have chronic Bartonella and several high herpes-titres.

Does anybody else have a smilar CD57 count without a lyme diagnosis or know what this might imply?

Thanks!! :)
Low CD57 tied to Lyme Disease


The original research on Low CD57's being linked to Lyme disease was done by Dr. Stricker in S.F. Ginger Savely is a nurse practioner who works under Dr. Stricker's supervision and worked on the CD57 findings with him. There is an excellent monthly publication that covers Lyme and other chronic disease issues called Public Health Alert. I highly recommend doing as much reading of back issues as you can and Dr. Burrascano's guidelines linked on the home page.


Here is direct link talking about CD57 scores:
I forgot to mention that, like Nina, I don't have Lyme. I have read that the only illnesses known to lower CD57 are Lyme and AIDS. I guess we have to add CFS to the list.

Nina, have you had your ANAs (autoimmune antibodies) measured? I have very high ANAs and I have read that low CD57 could relate to this, though it was speculative.

Lyme testing is very unreliable. The best "test" for lyme is to go on a lyme antibiotic protocol and if you feel much worse on it you're herxing and have lyme. In late stage lyme (anything over 1 year undiagnosed), your immune system response shuts down and doesn't register. The current Lyme test, the Western Blot, looks at your immune response, not the bugs. We need a test that looks at the bugs, but for various reasons is apparently hard to do. I would suggest alot of reading about Lyme and maybe a visit with a LLMD (Lyme-Literate MD), a rarer animal than a competent CFS doc. You can ask for a referral from ILADS.org:

Could be GOOD NEWS!

This is worrying and depressing. I'll start reading up on this and trying to find a doctor. Thanks v much for the info.

Because the symptoms of CFS and Lyme are basically the same, this could be GOOD news!

You know why? There are treatment options for Lyme and 70% of Lyme patients that are late stage get better on long term antibiotics. Only about 30% don't get well and I believe that's becuase many of them have other diseases like CFS which currently has no effective treatment.

Even if you can't find a doctor to treat you for Lyme, you can probably do it yourself if you take proper precautions like getting regular monthly blood work - called a CBC and Liver function workup to make sure no problems from the meds.

I have both CFS and Lyme and while antibiotic treatment for Lyme hasn't gotten me well, I have improved some - and I'm on the worst end of the treatment scale for outcome.

It can be overwhelming to research, so take it slow and remember treatment is antibiotics, oral or IV, both can work. IV is best if you can get it. And there are lots of resoures on line to learn from. Here is a good Lyme blogsite:


In fact, here is an excellent link stating Flagyll and doxycycline together is a great treatment option - and both are generic drugs - it's the first medical article listed:

More Info

I just found this which says Redlabs often finds low CD57 in CFS patients.

However I am going to read up and ask the doc about Lyme disease too. :(

One question, does Lyme disease go up and down with remissions and relapses, or do you have more of a "steady state" where the disease just keeps getting slowly worse?

Good link - and reminds me that CD57 doesn't for sure mean Lyme, but gives another treatment option to try and see if it helps. Still more of a detective process that for sure science unfortunately.

Lyme does go up and down, but as you progress you tend to go more down and further down, you know what I mean?:( Like you said, you steadily get worse.

A good baseline test is get your doctor to put you on doxycycline 100-200 mg 2x/day for a month. If you feel much worse and symptoms increase while being treated, Lyme is a strong possibility. Even better if you can work with a doctor who specializes in Lyme, but in Sicily, that probably isn't likely to happen. No worries, there are lots of "Lymies" out there who are happy to help who are being treated by the best available Lyme Literate docs.
Link to Lyme Treatment Guidelines and CD-57

Nina and Athene, Dr. Burrascano is one of the leading Lyme Literate doctors and has put together the Lyme treatment guidelines for doctors linked here.

The page I have linked to specifically talks about the CD-57 and it's link to Lyme disease (is a pdf file, will take a while to load):


I suggest saving this document and printing it out. It has many medical terms that you can look up on the web by googling a medical dictionary and typing in the words you don't understand. Only do this on days when you're brain is up to it!


Senior Member
Thank you both for sharing your thoughts about this.

As often in CFS, each possible answer raises many more questions.

There's so much more research needed, especially on the overlaps of lyme and CFS.

I am almost completely sure I don't have lyme, but I've never tried antibiotics so it will be interesting to see how I respond to that sort of treatment.

Both the Burrascano and the Redlabs info is very helpful, thank you!!

Athene: My protein kinase is within the normal range, and so are my ANAs, it seems that doesn't necessarily correlate.

All other NK counts are low as well.

It seems I will have to give antibiotic treatment a go and see where that takes me!