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Background: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) is a serious multifactorial disorder. The origin remains ambiguous, however reduced natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity is a consistent immunological feature of ME/CFS. Impaired transient receptor potential melastatin 3 (TRPM3), a phosphatidylinositol dependent channel, and impaired calcium mobilisation have been implicated in ME/CFS pathology. This investigation aimed to examine the localisation of TRPM3 at the NK cell plasma membrane and co-localisation with phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). The effect of IL-2 priming and treatment using pregnenolone sulfate (PregS) and ononetin on TRPM3 co-localisation and NK cell cytotoxicity in ME/CFS patients and healthy controls (HC) was also investigated. Methods: NK cells were isolated from 15 ME/CFS patients and 15 age- and sex-matched HC. Immunofluorescent technique was used to determine co-localisation of TRPM3 with the NK cell membrane and with PIP2 of ME/CFS patients and HC. Flow cytometry was used to determine NK cell cytotoxicity. Following IL-2 stimulation and treatment with PregS and ononetin changes in co-localisation and NK cell cytotoxicity were measured. Results: Overnight treatment of NK cells with PregS and ononetin resulted in reduced co-localisation of TRPM3 with PIP2 and actin in HC. Co-localisation of TRPM3 with PIP2 in NK cells was significantly reduced in ME/CFS patients compared with HC following priming with IL-2. A significant increase in co-localisation of TRPM3 with PIP2 was reported following overnight treatment with ononetin within ME/CFS patients and between groups. Baseline NK cell cytotoxicity was significantly reduced in ME/CFS patients; however, no changes were observed following overnight incubation with IL-2, PregS and ononetin between HC and ME/CFS patients. IL-2 stimulation significantly enhanced NK cell cytotoxicity in HC and ME/CFS patients. Conclusion: Significant changes in co-localisation suggest PIP2-dependent TRPM3 function may be impaired in ME/CFS patients. Stimulation of NK cells with IL-2 significantly enhanced cytotoxic function in ME/CFS patients demonstrating normal function compared with HC. A crosstalk exists between IL-2 and TRPM3 intracellular signalling pathways which are dependent on Ca2+ influx and PIP2. While IL-2R responds to IL-2 binding in vitro, Ca2+ dysregulation and impaired intracellular signalling pathways impede NK cell function in ME/CFS patients.
Eaton-Fitch, N., Cabanas, H., du Preez, S., Staines, D., & Marshall-Gradisnik, S. (2021). The effect of IL-2 stimulation and treatment of TRPM3 on channel co-localisation with PIP2 and NK cell function in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome patients. Journal of Translational Medicine, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02974-4