2007 ME/CFS Research Forum

ME/CFS RESEARCH FORUM: 26-27 March 2007
University of Adelaide
Convenor: Alison Hunter Memorial Foundation

De Meirleir K, De Becker P, De Meirleir L, Frémont M, Lombardi V


Transfection of intestinal bacteria in CFS/ME - a common mechanism with other diseases as HIV and MS. Is there a role for intestinal viral pathology?

We tested 143 CFS patients for lactose tolerance and fructose malabsorption by breath tests. 29 (20.3% tested positive for lactose intolerance (most were confirmed by gene testing by PCR) and 71 (45.8% tested positive for fructose malabsorption). 12 patients tested positive for both tests. This means that 66.1% of the patients had an abnormal lactose and/or fructose breath test.
These conditions often lead to intestinal bacterial overgrowth or could be a consequence of it.

Furthermore we find in these patients’ serum IgA’s and/or IgM’s for aerobic intestinal bacteria and bacterial LPS (lipopolysaccharides). In the PBMC’s of these patients we find high leucocyte elastase activity.
LPS is bioactive in vivo and correlates with measures of innate and adaptive immune activation; there is both evidence of in vivo stimulation of monocytes by LPS and a direct association between in vivo stimulation and measures of innate and adaptive immune activation.

We provide evidence that CFS patients, alike HIV patients have a compromised gastrointestinal mucosa surface which is a cause of immune dysregulation. Mucosal CD4 or CD8 T cell and/or NK cell depletion and etheropathy could play a major role in this mucosal barrier disorder.
Restoration of the mucosal barrier has been successful in reducing the symptoms in CFS/ME patients.


  1. Brenchley et al. Nature Medicine. Vol 12, 12, 1365- 1371, 2006
  2. De Becker et al. 8th IACFS Conference Syllabus, January 2007.

Department of Pathology, University of Nevada Medical School, USA
Department of Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology, Free University of Brussels, Belgium.


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