At the Root of 3 “Long” Diseases: Persistent Antigens Inflicting Chronic Damage on the Brain and Other Organs in Gulf War Illness, Long-COVID-19, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several foreign antigens such as those derived from viruses and bacteria have been linked to long-term deleterious effects on the brain and other organs; yet, health outcomes subsequent to foreign antigen exposure vary depending in large part on the host’s immune system, in general, and on human leukocyte antigen (HLA) composition, in particular. Here we first provide a brief description of 3 conditions characterized by persistent long-term symptoms, namely long-COVID-19, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and Gulf War Illness (GWI), followed by a brief overview of the role of HLA in the immune response to foreign antigens. We then discuss our Persistent Antigen (PA) hypothesis and highlight associations between antigen persistence due to HLA-antigen incongruence and chronic health conditions in general and the 3 “long” diseases above in particular. This review is not intended to cover the breadth and depth of symptomatology of those diseases but is specifically focused on the hypothesis that the presence of persistent antigens underlies their pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNeuroscience Insights
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Partial funding for this study was provided by the University of Minnesota (the Anita Kunin Chair in Women’s Healthy Brain Aging, the Brain and Genomics Fund, the McKnight Presidential Chair of Cognitive Neuroscience, and the American Legion Brain Sciences Chair) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The sponsors had no role in the current study design, analysis or interpretation, or in the writing of this paper. The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • Gulf War illness
  • Human leukocyte antigen
  • long-COVID
  • myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
  • persistent antigen

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review

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