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Internal medicine doctors at the University of Queensland have developed a new treatment for patients who experience chronic fatigue.
Key points:Dr Jennifer O’Keefe says the treatment is based on the immune systemThe treatment uses peptides, which are found in the gut and are known to stimulate the immune responseKey points:”It’s not a new approach to treating chronic fatigue”Dr O’Keefe said there was evidence to suggest the peptides could improve sleep, depression and inflammation.
“This is not a novel approach, but we have been doing it for years now and we believe it is the most effective treatment to date for this condition,” she said.
“We think that it has some great potential.”
The peptides were originally developed by Dr O’ Keefe as part of her PhD work.
The treatment works by using a series of peptides that work in conjunction with an immune system that is triggered by the stress and fatigue.
“The peptide can trigger a very specific immune response, so you get a strong response that activates the immune cells in the intestines,” she explained.
“When you trigger this response, you actually activate the immune cell response to the rest of the body and the immune responses can start to work, and so that makes it very good at stimulating the immune reactions and stimulating the gut.”
So if you’re feeling tired and you’re really stressed and you have a lot of gut bacteria that are causing inflammation and the gut bacteria are triggering inflammation in your body, it may trigger the immune reaction to that body to activate and start to make the body fight that inflammation.
“Dr OKeefe says there are two key ways the peptide works.
The first is by making a molecule called L-glutamine.”
L-glutenamine is a peptide that comes from the gut,” Dr OKeffe said.
It binds to receptors that are found on the surface of the intestine, and the receptors are released into the bloodstream.”
If the peptidomimetic peptide is released into your bloodstream, the immune systems release that L-glycan from the body, and that’s where it binds to the receptor and makes it active,” she added.”
That is the pathway that L glutamine takes to trigger the action of the immune immune cells.
“Dr Andrew Phelan, who led the research, said it was an exciting discovery.”
What we’ve discovered is that the immune receptor in the GI tract is really active when L-Glutamine is released, and then the immune neurons are activated and that triggers an immune response,” Dr Phelin said.
This is the first time Dr O Keefe has used peptides as part the treatment, she said, and it was a great way to try new things.”
There is a lot that we don’t know about the immune function in the intestinal tract, and this is the only way that we know of to actually find out,” Dr Keefe said.
The next step is to see if the peptids can be tested in humans, Dr Phellan said.
Dr O Keef said the treatment would work for many patients, with the peptises being safe and effective in the short term.”
They’re safe for people with chronic or mild illness,” she continued.”
And if you have chronic illness, you’re not necessarily going to have the same symptoms, so I think we’re going to see people benefit from this treatment.
“Dr Keefe says she will also be conducting clinical trials on patients with the condition.