Mercury and nickel allergy: risk factors in fatigue and autoimmunity
This study examined the presence of hypersensitivity to dental and environmental metals in patients with clinical disorders complicated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Three groups of patients were examined through medical history, dental examination, and by using a modifi ed test of blast transformation for metals—MELISA®. The three groups consisted of the following: 22 patients with autoimmune thyroiditis with or without polyglandular autoimmune activation; 28 fatigued patients free from endocrinopathy; and 22 fatigued professionals without evidence of autoimmunity. As controls, a population sample or 13 healthy subjects without any evidence of metal sensitivity was included. Healthy controls did not complain of marked fatigue and their laboratory tests did not show signs of autommunity and endocrinopathy. We have found that fatigue, regardless of the underlying disease, is primarily associated with hypersensitivity to inorganic mercury and nickel. The lymphocyte stimulation by other metals was similar in fatigued and control groups. To evaluate clinical relevance of positive in vitro fi ndings, the replacement of amalgam with metal-free restorations was performed in some of the patients. At a six-month follow-up, patients reported considerably alleviated fatigue and disappearance of many symptoms previously encountered; in parallel, lymphocyte responses to metals decreased as well. We suggest that metal-driven infl ammation may affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and indirectly trigger psychosomatic multisymptoms characterizing chronic fatigue syndrome, fi bromyalgia, and other diseases of unknown etiology.