Hormonal influences on stress-induced neutrophil mobilization in health and chronic fatigue syndrome

Joseph G. Cannon, Jonathan B. Angel, Leslie W. Abad, John O'Grady, Nancy Lundgren, Laura Fagioli, Anthony L. Komaroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This investigation tested the hypotheses that women diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) would exhibit significantly greater systemic indices of exercise-induced leukocyte mobilization and inflammation (neutrophilia, lactoferrin release, complement activation) than controls matched for age, weight, and habitual activity and that responses in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle would be greater than in the follicular phase. Subjects stepped up and down on a platform adjusted to the height of the patella for 15 min, paced by metronome. Blood samples were collected under basal conditions (the day before exercise) and following exercise for determination of circulating neutrophils and plasma concentrations of lactoferrin, C3a des arg, and creatine kinase. Complete, 24-hr urine collections were made for determination of cortisol excretion. For all subjects, circulating neutrophil counts increased 33% (P < 0.0001) and lactoferrin increased 27% (P = 0.0006) after exercise, whereas plasma C3a des arg and creatine kinase did not increase. No indication of an exaggerated or excessive response was observed in the CFS patients compared to the controls. In healthy women, circulating neutrophil numbers exhibited previously described relationships with physiological variables: basal neutrophil counts correlated with plasma progesterone concentrations (R = 0.726, P = 0.003) and the exercise-induced neutrophilia correlated with both urinary cortisol (R = 0.660, P = 0.007) and plasma creatine kinase (R = 0.523, P = 0.038) concentrations. These relationships were not observed in the CFS patients (R = 0.240, P = 0.370: R = 0.042, P = 0.892; and R = 0.293, P = 0.270; respectively). These results suggest that normal endocrine influences on the circulating neutrophil pool may be disrupted in patients with CFS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-298
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Complement
  • Cortisol
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Neutrophil
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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