Regulatory T cells and AUTOIMMUNITY HYPOTHEsis

There is evidence that ME/CFS IS LIKE an AUtoIMMUNE DISEASE in PATIENTS WITH AN INFECtiON tRIGGER. Given that Regulatory T cells are important autoimmune regulators, We intend to explore the role of these cells in THE ME/CFS PATHOGENESIS.

Regulatory T cells are important blockers of aberrant immune responses against self-antigens


Recent research on ME/CFS showed contradicting data on regulatory CD4+ T cells (Tregs), which are key players in the control of aberrant immune responses against self-antigens. When compared to data from healthy donors, the proportion of these cells either increased or decreased across different studies. This project aims then to unravel the impact of Tregs in ME/CFS pathogenesis by performing a systematic review of published data, re-analyzing data from the UK ME/CFS biobank, and conducting model simulations of Treg dynamics consistent with ME/CFS data.

João Malato is conducting this project under the supervision of Dr. Nuno Sepúlveda (main supervisor) and Prof. Luis Graça (co-supervisor). João is fully funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal.


With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project was put on hold. However, João has been producing research on the susceptibility of ME/CFS patients to SARS-CoV-2 infections (see paper) and waning immunity to Omicron variants in collaboration with Prof Luís Graça and other Portuguese researchers (see paper).