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October 2021

Is There Immune Dysregulation in Symptomatic Gulf War Veterans?

Journal/Book: Z Rheumatol 1999; 58: 310. 1999;

Abstract: M. P. Everson; Health Sciences Specialist Birmingham VAMC VA Medical Center (111-F) AL Many Gulf War veterans complain of a variety of symptoms including skin rashes and joint pain which may have a common immunological basis. Other Gulf War veterans have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) an anxiety disorder associated with chronic stress. Chronic stress maybe associated with a reduced capacity to resist disease and recent work suggests that a dysregulated balance of cytokines produced by T helper cells of the immune system can play a significant role in stress-related illnesses. It is known that a balanced immune response (cell-mediated and humoral immunity) is an important defense mechanism. Although the mechanism by which a change in immune system balance occurs is not clear it may be secondary to stress-induced changes in hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines both of which have been implicated in altering levels of cellular or humoral immunity. For these reasons we are investigating the function of both the cellular and humoral arms of the immune system as well as the cytokine patterns associated with these different functions. The goal of our study is to determine whether Gulf War veterans with a variety of symptoms some of which are rheumatic in nature have alterations in their immunological status. The study groups are symptomatic Gulf War veterans with unexplained symptoms involving two or more organ systems and two control groups consisting of asymptomatic Gulf War veterans and non-Gulf War veterans who have applied for disability compensation i.e. have symptoms but did not participate in the Gulf War. Gulf War veterans with a PTSD diagnosis or other diagnosis which could explain their symptoms have been excluded from this analysis as a confounding variable. ... le

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