Reliable disease biomarkers characterizing and identifying electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity as two etiopathogenic aspects of a unique pathological disorder
1Paris V University Hospital, France
2European Cancer and Environment Research Institute (ECERI), Brussels, Belgium
3Hospital Director, seconded from Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Paris, France
4Association for Research and Treatments Against Cancer (ARTAC), F-75015 Paris, France
Much of the controversy over the causes of electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) lies in the absence of both recognized clinical criteria and objective biomarkers for widely accepted diagnosis. Since 2009, we have prospectively investigated, clinically and biologically, 1216 consecutive EHS and/or MCS-self reporting cases, in an attempt to answer both questions.
We report here our preliminary data, based on 727 evaluable of 839 enrolled cases: 521 (71.6%) were diagnosed with EHS, 52 (7.2%) with MCS, and 154 (21.2%) with both EHS and MCS. Two out of three patients with EHS and/or MCS were female; mean age (years) was 47. As inflammation appears to be a key process resulting from electromagnetic field (EMF) and/or chemical effects on tissues, and histamine release is potentially a major mediator of inflammation, we systematically measured histamine in the blood of patients.
Near 40% had a increase in histaminemia (especially when both conditions were present), indicating a chronic inflammatory response can be detected in these patients. Oxidative stress is part of inflammation and is a key contributor to damage and response. Nitrotyrosin, a marker of both peroxynitrite (ONOO°-) production and opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), was increased in 28% the cases. Protein S100B, another marker of BBB opening was increased in 15%. Circulating autoantibodies against O-myelin were detected in 23%, indicating EHS and MCS may be associated with autoimmune response. Confirming animal experiments showing the increase of Hsp27 and/or Hsp70 chaperone proteins under the influence of EMF, we found increased Hsp27 and/or Hsp70 in 33% of the patients.
As most patients reported chronic insomnia and fatigue, we determined the 24 h urine 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate (6-OHMS)/creatinin ratio and found it was decreased (<0.8) in all investigated cases.
Finally, considering the self-reported symptoms of EHS and MCS, we serially measured the brain blood flow (BBF) in the temporal lobes of each case with pulsed cerebral ultrasound computed tomosphygmography. Both disorders were associated with hypoperfusion in the capsulothalamic area, suggesting that the inflammatory process involve the limbic system and the thalamus.
Our data strongly suggest that EHS and MCS can be objectively characterized and routinely diagnosed by commercially available simple tests. Both disorders appear to involve inflammation-related hyper-histaminemia, oxidative stress, autoimmune response, capsulothalamic hypoperfusion and BBB opening, and a deficit in melatonin metabolic availability; suggesting a risk of chronic neurodegenerative disease. Finally the common co-occurrence of EHS and MCS strongly suggests a common pathological mechanism.