The Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.
Gulf War syndrome (GWS) is a multi-symptom condition comprising a variety of signs and symptoms described in the literature, which not been fully resolved. The various symptoms of the condition include muscle fatigue and tiredness, malaise, myalgia, impaired cognition, ataxia, diarrhoea, bladder dysfunction, sweating disturbances, headaches, fever, arthralgia, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal and sleep disturbances. In addition, excessive chemical sensitivity and odour intolerance is reported. The aetiology of the condition is unclear, but many reviews and epidemiological analyses suggest association with pyridostigmine bromide (PB), certain vaccination regimes, a variety of possible chemical exposures, including smoke from oil-well fires or depleted uranium from shells, as well as physical and psychological stress. Recently, Shoenfeld et al. suggested that four conditions - siliconosis, macrophagic myofaciitis (MMF), GWS and post-vaccination phenomena - that share clinical and pathogenic resemblances, may be incorporated into common syndrome called 'Autoimmune (Autoinflammatory) Syndrome induced by Adjuvants' (ASIA). Symptoms and signs of the four conditions described by Shoenfeld et al. show that at least eight out of ten main symptoms are in correlation in all four conditions. Namely, myalgia, arthralgias, chronic fatigue, neurological cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal symptoms, respiratory symptoms, skin manifestations and appearance of autoantibodies. Regardless of the aetiology of GWS, be it exposure to environmental factors or chemical drugs, vaccinations or the adjuvants in them, GWS fits well with the definition of ASIA and is included as part of 'Shoenfeld's syndrome'.