A clinical study was designed to utilize flow cytometric immunophenotyping and chromium release from cultured tumor target cells to characterize peripheral blood mononuclear leukocyte (PBML) subpopulations and natural killer activity in healthy normal controls (n = 18) and in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) at baseline (n = 124) and again after 6 weeks of treatment with low-doses of orally administered human interferon-α (IFN-α). Volunteer subjects discontinued all analgesic and sedative hypnotic medications for 2 weeks prior to the baseline phlebotomy. Laboratory measures included a complete blood count; a phenotypic analysis of PBML by flow cytometry; and in vitro natural killer (NK) cell activity. After baseline blood sample collection, the FMS patients were randomized to one of four parallel treatment groups (n = 28/group) to receive sublingual IFN-α (15 IU, 50 IU, 150 IU), or placebo every morning for 6 weeks. The tests were repeated at week 6 to evaluate treatment effects. At baseline, FMS patients exhibited fewer lymphocytes and more CD25+ T lymphocytes than did normal controls. By week 6, the main significant and consistent change was a decrease in the HLA- DR+ CD4+ subpopulation in the 15 IU and 150 IU treatment groups. These data do not support an immunologically dysfunctional PBML phenotype among patients with FMS as has been observed in the chronic fatigue syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology