Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Spectroscopy
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Gulf War Syndrome Observed in Veterans’ Mitochondria

Published: Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Bookmark and Share
UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers have demonstrated that veterans of the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War who suffer from “Gulf War illness” have impaired function of mitochondria.

The findings, published in the March 27, 2014 issue of PLOS ONE, could help lead to new treatments benefitting affected individuals – and to new ways of protecting servicepersons (and civilians) from similar problems in the future, said principal investigator Beatrice A. Golomb MD, PhD, professor of medicine.

Golomb, with associate Hayley Koslik and Gavin Hamilton, PhD, a research scientist and magnetic resonance physicist, used the imaging technology to compare Gulf War veterans with diagnosed Gulf War illness to healthy controls. Cases were matched by age, sex and ethnicity.

The technique used – 31-phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy or 31P-MRS – reveals amounts of phosphorus-containing compounds in cells. Such compounds are important for cell energy production, in particular phosphocreatine or PCr, which declines in muscle cells during exercise. PCr recovery takes longer when mitochondrial function is impaired, and delayed recovery is recognized as a robust marker of mitochondrial dysfunction.

Affected Gulf War veterans displayed significantly delayed PCr recovery after an exercise challenge. In fact, said Golomb, there was almost no overlap in the recovery times of Gulf War illness veterans compared to controls: All but one control participant had a recovery time-constant clustered under 31 seconds. In contrast, all but one Gulf Illness veteran had a recovery time-constant exceeding 35 seconds, with times ranging as high as 70 seconds.

There were 14 participants in the study: seven Gulf War illness cases and seven matching controls. Golomb notes that the use of 1:1 matching markedly improves statistical “power,” allowing a smaller sample size. The separation between the two groups was “visibly striking, and the large average difference was statistically significant,” she said.

Golomb noted that impaired mitochondrial function accounts for numerous features of Gulf War illness, including symptoms that have been viewed as perplexing or paradoxical.

“The classic presentation for mitochondrial illness involves multiple symptoms spanning many domains, similar to what we see in Gulf War illness. These classically include fatigue, cognitive and other brain-related challenges, muscle problems and exercise intolerance, with neurological and gastrointestinal problems also common.”

There are other similarities between patients with mitochondrial dysfunction and those suffering from Gulf War illness: Additional symptoms appear in smaller subsets of patients; varying patterns of symptoms and severity among individuals; different latency periods across symptoms, or times when symptoms first appear; routine blood tests that appear normal.

“Some have sought to ascribe Gulf War illness to stress,” said Golomb, “but stress has proven not to be an independent predictor of the condition. On the other hand, Gulf veterans are known to have been widely exposed to acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, a chemical class found in organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, nerve gas and nerve gas pre-treatment pills given to troops.

“These inhibitors have known mitochondrial toxicity and generally show the strongest and most consistent relationship to predicting Gulf War illness. Mitochondrial problems account for which exposures relate to Gulf War illness, which symptoms predominate, how Gulf War illness symptoms manifest themselves, what objective tests have been altered, and why routine blood tests have not been useful.”

Funding for this research came, in part, from a UC San Diego Academic Senate Award and the U.S. Department of Defense.



Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Improving Wheat Crops in the Field
Agrii, RAGT and the University of Nottingham are developing better disease management and yield production in wheat crops using ASD FieldSpec Handheld 2 portable spectroradiometers.
Monitoring Changes, Variability in Blood
Raman spectroscopy used as a tool for monitoring biochemical changes and inter-donor variability in stored red blood cell units.
University Uses Magritek Benchtop NMR to Teach Organic Chemistry
Magritek reports on the benefits of their Spinsolve Benchtop NMR spectrometer for teaching practical organic chemistry to undergraduate students at Cleveland State University in Ohio.
Tracking The Aluminum Used To Purify Tap Water
Kobe University researchers demonstrate a new analysis method to measure the concentration of aluminium used to purify tap water.
New Imaging Method Reveals Nanoscale Details about DNA
Enhancement to super-resolution microscopy shows orientation of individual molecules, providing a new window into DNA’s structure and dynamics.
Scientific Gains May Make Electronic Nose the Next Everyday Device
UT Dallas team breathes new life into possibilities by using CMOS integrated circuits technology.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
Copper is Key in Burning Fat
Berkeley Lab scientist says results could provide new target for obesity research.
Unveiling the Complexity of Mysterious Protein Folding
Imagine trying to reverse engineer a car when all you have is a finished product or a box full of parts — no instructions.
New System for Detecting Explosives
Spectroscopic system with chip-scale lasers cuts detection time from minutes to microseconds.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!