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Natural killer cells and single nucleotide polymorphisms of specific ion channels and receptor genes in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik, Teilah Huth, Anu Chacko, Samantha Johnston, Pete Smith, Donald Staines

Appl Clin Genet, 2016 , 9, 39-47

The aim of this paper was to determine natural killer (NK) cytotoxic activity and if single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and genotypes in transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels and acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) were present in isolated NK cells from previously identified myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients.A total of 39 ME/CFS patients (51.69±2 years old) and 30 unfatigued controls (47.60±2.39 years old) were included in this study. Patients were defined according to the 1994 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria. Flow cytometry protocols were used to examine NK cytotoxic activity. A total of 678 SNPs from isolated NK cells were examined for 21 mammalian TRP ion channel genes and for nine mammalian AChR genes via the Agena Bioscience iPlex Gold assay. SNP association and genotype was determined using analysis of variance and Plink software.ME/CFS patients had a significant reduction in NK percentage lysis of target cells (17%±4.68%) compared with the unfatigued control group (31%±6.78%). Of the 678 SNPs examined, eleven SNPs for TRP ion channel genes (TRPC4, TRPC2, TRPM3, and TRPM8) were identified in the ME/CFS group. Five of these SNPs were associated with TRPM3, while the remainder were associated with TRPM8, TRPC2, and TRPC4 (P<0.05). Fourteen SNPs were associated with nicotinic and muscarinic AChR genes: six with CHRNA3, while the remainder were associated with CHRNA2, CHRNB4, CHRNA5, and CHRNE (P<0.05). There were sixteen genotypes identified from SNPs in TRP ion channels and AChRs for TRPM3 (n=5), TRPM8 (n=2), TRPC4 (n=3), TRPC2 (n=1), CHRNE (n=1), CHRNA2 (n=2), CHRNA3 (n=1), and CHRNB4 (n=1) (P<0.05).We identified a number of SNPs and genotypes for TRP ion channels and AChRs from isolated NK cells in patients with ME/CFS, suggesting these SNPs and genotypes may be involved in changes in NK cell function and the development of ME/CFS pathology. These anomalies suggest a role for dysregulation of Ca(2+) in AChR and TRP ion channel signaling in the pathomechanism of ME/CFS.