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Table 2 Study results for the primary outcome of serum cytokine levels

From: A systematic review of cytokines in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis/systemic exertion intolerance disease (CFS/ME/SEID)


Serum Cytokine Levels


Cytokines Assayed

Increased in CFS/ME vs. HC (p-value)a

Decreased in CFS/ME vs. HC (p-value)a

Fletcher, et al. [20]

IL-Iα, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-23, IFN- γ, LTα, TNF-α

LTα (0.000), IL-6 (0.000), IL-1α (0.044), IL-1β (0.041), IL-12 (0.000), IL-4 (0.000), IL-5 (0.000)

IL-8 (0.002), IL-13 (0.002), IL-15 (0.000)

Hardcastle, et al. [21]

IL-1β, IL-1RA, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-9, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17, FGF, CCL11, G-CSF, GM-CSF, IFN-γ, CXCL10, TNF-α, CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, VEGF

IL-7 (< 0.001), IL-8 (0.001), CCL5 (0.009)

IL-6 (< 0.001)

Kennedy, et al. [23]


TGF-β1 (0.005)


Landi, et al. [24]

CCL11, CCL24, CCL26, IL-8, CXCL10, CCL2, CCL13, CCL22, CCL3, CCL4, CCL17, GM-CSF, IL12/23p40, IL- 15, IL-16, IL-17A, IL-1a, IL-5, IL-7, TNF-β, VEGF-A, IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-1b, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, TNF-α, CX3CL1, CXCL9, CCL19

CCL24 (0.007), CCL19 (0.04)

IL-16 (9.38 × 10− 9), IL-17A (2.79 × 10− 5), IL-7 (2.74 × 10− 4), TNF-β (0.003), CXCL9 (0.006), CX3CL1 (0.01), IL-1β (0.04),

VEGF-A (0.01)

Montoya J, et al. [25]

CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL5, CCL7, CCL11, CXCL1, CXCL5, CXCL9, CXCL10, FGF-basic, G-CSF, GM-CSF, HGF, IFN-α, IFN-β, IFN-γ, IL-1RA, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-12p70, Il-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-17F, LIF, M-CSF, Resistin, SCF, TGF-α, TGF-β, TNF-α, TNF-β, VEGF, Leptin

TGF-β (0.0052)

Resistin (0.0052)

Nakamura, et al. [26]

IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α

IL-10 (0.05)


Nas K, et al. [27]

IL-6, IL-8

IL-6 (0.007)


Neu D, et al. [29]

IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-α

IL-1β (0.000), IL-8 (0.000), IL-10 (0.015), TNF-α (0.019)

IFN-γ (0.000), IL-6 (0.001)

Russell, et al. [32]

IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, 1 IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-23, IFN-γ, TNF-α, TNF-β, LTα

IL-4 and IL-5 (p = 0.00 for >50yo), IL-12p70 (p = 0.02 for >50yo), TNF-β (p = 0.03)

IL-8 (p = 0.02), IL-15 (p = 0.00)

Suhadolnik, et al. [33]




Tomoda, et al. [34]

IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β, TNF- α



  1. HC healthy controls, IL interleukin, IFN interferon, LT lymphotoxin, TNF tumor necrosis factor, FGF fibroblast growth factor, VEGF vascular endothelial growth factor, G-CSF granulocyte colony stimulating factor, GM-CSF granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor, CXCL C-X-C motif ligand, CCL C-C motif ligand, TGF transforming growth factor, SCF stem cell factor, NR p-value not reported, NS not significant
  2. a Cytokines listed as assayed for a particular study that do not appear as either increased or decreased indicate their changes between the groups were not significant
  3. This table contains the results of the studies pertaining to serum cytokine levels