Gulf War illness (GWI) is a chronic disease of unknown etiology affecting over 200,000 veterans with symptoms including neurocognitive problems. We previously demonstrated GWI serum toxicity on neural cell cultures manifested by compromised neural network function, decreased cell spreading, and enhanced cell apoptosis. These patients lacked six human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles, resulting in an inability to form antibodies. Therefore, we hypothesized that GWI patients have vaccine-derived, persistent pathogens, which contribute to the development of the disease. Here, we examined whether individual vaccines were toxic in cultured N2A cells. Moreover, we used antibodies against each of the 20 vaccines administered to Gulf War (GW) veterans, to examine the effects of these antibodies on cell spreading and apoptosis in N2A cells. Antibodies against cholera toxin, hepatitis B, hemagglutinin H1N1, H3N2, and B from influenza A and B strains, measles, and Salmonella Typhi polysaccharide Vi had a remarkable protective effect on both cell spreading and apoptosis, whereas none of the other antibodies administered to GW veterans had an effect. The in vitro observed adverse effects of GWI serum may be due in part to vaccine-derived pathogens, antibodies against which had a protective effect in N2A cell cultures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: Partial funding for this study was provided by the University of Minnesota American Legion Family Brain Sciences Chair.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Anti-vaccine antibodies
- Gulf War illness
- N2A cultures