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Mady Hornig, MA, MD

Mady Hornig, MD

Columbia University's Mady Hornig, MA, MD, discusses the use multiplexed immunoassays for studying chronic fatigue syndrome, known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS).

Scientists at Columbia University, led by Dr. Hornig and Dr. Ian Lipkin, are using multiplexed immunoassays to identify immune molecules and their signaling pathways to better understand how these molecules are essential to brain development and function.

Mady Hornig and her collaborators have been working with the eBioscience® unit of Affymetrix for about 10 years. For these recent studies, ProcartaPlex® Immunoassays were used to analyze both blood and cerebrospinal fluid samples to study 51 immune molecules. This collaboration has aided and accelerated their research into ME/CFS and other immune-mediated brain disorders.

The most recent study was published in February 2015 and used immunoassay testing methods to determine the levels of 51 immune biomarkers in blood plasma samples collected through two multicenter studies. These two studies represented a total of 298 ME/CFS patients and 348 healthy controls. In patients who had the disease three years or less, their study found specific patterns that were not present in controls or in patients who had had the disease for more than three years. Patients at three years or less had increased amounts of many different cytokines. Notably, even small increases in interferon gamma, an immune molecule linked to the fatigue that follows infection with viruses like Epstein-Barr virus, the cause of infectious mononucleosis, were more common in the early phases of illness. These discoveries are closely linked to the improved sensitivity of ProcartaPlex Immunoassays, where even small increases in immune molecules such as interferon gamma could be detected.

Through immune profiling of blood samples from patients diagnosed with ME/CFS, we have detected distinct changes in these immune molecules, identifying patterns in the immune system that have important relationships with different phases of the disease.
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