Veterans with Gulf War Illness Have Higher Mitochondrial DNA Damage, Dysfunction, Study Suggests

Veterans with Gulf War Illness Have Higher Mitochondrial DNA Damage, Dysfunction, Study Suggests

Veterans with Gulf War Illness (GWI) — a chronic multi-symptom disorder not currently diagnosed by standard medical or laboratory tests — have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction, a new study shows.

The study, “Role of mitochondrial DNA damage and dysfunction in veterans with Gulf War Illness,” appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

About 30 percent of U.S. troops who served during the 1990-91 Gulf War have GWI, whose symptoms include fatigue, widespread pain, exercise intolerance and cognitive dysfunction. Since the symptoms of GWI tend to be related to energy metabolism, mitochondrial dysfunction may play a role.

In fact, military deployment often involves exposure to environmental toxins such as carbamates and organophosphates that have been shown to cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Oxidative stress can lead to mitochondrial DNA mutations and damage mitochondrial proteins. Yet until now, no studies have assessed the linkage between mitochondrial DNA damage and GWI.

This led researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System in East Orange, N.J., to conduct a study to determine if GWI patients have elevated markers of mitochondrial damage and function compared to the general population. They used a technique called QPCR (Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction) to measure the expression of known genes related to mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage.

Researchers recruited 21 GWI patients and seven controls. They collected blood samples and conducted QPCR tests on all 28 to measure mitochondrial and nuclear DNA mutation frequency. In addition, researchers measured mitochondrial DNA copy number alterations and nuclear DNA lesion frequency in order to determine gene expression of important mitochondrial complexes (I and IV) – both of which are involved in energy metabolism. Enzyme activity for those proteins was also measured.

Results showed that veterans with GWI had a higher frequency of mtDNA mutations and higher mtDNA copy numbers than did controls. They also had more frequent nuclear DNA lesions, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Activity of complexes I and IV were similar between the groups, though high mtDNA lesion frequency was correlated with lower complex I and IV enzyme activity. Therefore, veterans with GWI tend to have greater mtDNA damage.

“Future studies are necessary to confirm our findings. However, this work suggests that mtDNA damage may serve as an objective biomarker of GWI,” authors concluded. “Results from the present study, along with recent work from other laboratories, suggest mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in the pathobiology [disease development] of GWI and should continue to be actively investigated.”

Iqra holds a MSc in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. She also holds a BSc in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Currently, she is completing a PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology from the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. Her research has ranged from across various disease areas including Alzheimer’s disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, bleeding disorders and rare pediatric brain tumors.
Iqra holds a MSc in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. She also holds a BSc in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Currently, she is completing a PhD in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology from the University of Toronto in Toronto, Canada. Her research has ranged from across various disease areas including Alzheimer’s disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, bleeding disorders and rare pediatric brain tumors.
Latest Posts
  • Entrada Therapeutics
  • PISD gene
  • mitochondrial disease and its varieties
  • mitochondrial DNA and inheritance


  1. c morton says:

    Of course they have Mito dysfunction. They were made to take Fluoroquinolones. Glad the connection is finally being made public. Sadly, too late for my 18 year old daughter who was prescribed this Poison and is enduring a life of constant and varied pain. Please, continue the research.

  2. Tami says:

    I have Gulf War illness.
    It’s not a secret that those with HLA B27 genes can not take the anthrax vaccine.
    GWI is simply our gene triggered on chromosome 6. In addition TNF receptors were triggered to malfunction.

    You simply fail to treat us that had ours triggered.
    The “claim” is that you can be positive or negative HLA-B27.
    That can’t be right. HLA genes are co-dominant. They can be triggered.

    Mine were.
    We all have versions of ankylosing spondilysis and multiple sclerosis.

    If we had TRAPS gene mutations, then they were triggered as well because of the TNF block on chromosome 6.

    GWI “Base disease” is similar to TRAPS because it caused our tnf-a receptors to malfunction.

    I know exactly what is causing gulf war illness and so does #BigPharma and the vaccine manufacturers.

    That’s why we can no longer sue them.

    No one with HLA genes should get the anthrax vaccine.
    We already had a level of immunity.
    Our autoimmune systems are aging and we can no longer fight our dysfunctional receptors and the massive amount of cytokine damage done to us over the past 25 years.
    I now develop tumors.
    We need tnf-a and IL inhibitors.
    Those are too expensive for us lowly veterans.

    My son now has the symptoms of ankylosing spondilysis at the age of 22.

    You’ve destroyed more than me. My children are now going to be disabled as well.

    • darran henry says:

      Them Chemicals were stored in Germany because i was exposed and told i was a 100% disabled and told not to donate blood i was expose standing by a bunker during PT i felt like i had ate pop-rocks like a bright light over my head when the Germans came in their chemical suits i was told to leave i collapsed i aid i just may be thirsty.I was feeling sick went to Rienberg Medical had an xray the Tech said your bones are glowing. So along wit my death jump i was stationed in Fort Bragg 307 medical 1986 was on a manifest combat jump look in the archives it was supposed to be an invasion to Iran but was cancelled in Dec 12, 1986 i turned around and was the only soldier that had a parachute packed in 1983 . I refused but was given an option court marshal and article 15 in i did not take that 3 year old parachute. I it was cloud cover under the plan so the plan went lower about almost 900 feet i came out tangled in my parachute lines when parachute deployed . I was praying to God and Jesus ground was coming fast i did have time to drop my TA-50 at 250 feet i hit the ground so hard all i heard was “puwk” i was woke up by medics that say me drop. they ask me can i get up i said yes i did know i was paralyzed waist down they carried me of with a stretcher put me on a Gama-Goat before they had humvees. The medical Staff asked the enlisted soldiers what happen i could not comprehend what was going on my combat boots were cut off feet were huge and i had riser burns around by face and neck because my helmet was pulled off from the shock coming out of the plane.So no helmet when i landed. all my TA-50 had to be replace from mess kit and frame of back pack snapped in half all metal objects metal smashed including metal drink cup and canteen is plastic. my M-16 is in a thick case the barrel of the weapon was bent they really did not notice until i should them if i was to take on range it may have exploded.I came off jump status because back, knees, neck,right shoulder and right foot flopping when i run i never had taken a PT test because they new i continued to jump before i left giving me nightmares of my near death incident.i had to crawl to bathroom in the beginning but i kept trying to soldier up. So leaving the 82nd a dream i had because my father was in the 82nd and a jump Master i never told him about how bad my injury was he deceased now. But 1988 i was in Germany they doctors and mental heath people were doing test on me they told me i had trauma to my brain hitting on the drop zone. But one going to the remote military site i was the PSNCO there i could not move one day went to German Hospital in Goch and the taken xrays Top to bottom the doctors ran in amazed that i was still living they asked if i been in bad car accident i said no i had a parachute accident about 2 years ago the German doctors said i had fractures that looks like they healed themselves from my neck down , right hip, femur, knees shend and ankels. I given to Doctors in Military Hospital and all my record were said to be sent to Frankfurt. The doctor said they can do the right foot. surgery in which it was banded in Chicago military Hospital because it was killing patients i just found that out.But the military staff that did the surgery on my foot said your spine may leave Paralyzed if they did the surgery so when i was sent back to Frankfort Military Hospital for a rash on my head that a barber started. I was told i was getting medically discharged at 100% disabled so when i asked them about my medical records they told ne they were gathering more information. and gave me my chikdrens medical records even the 1st sergeant of me said sgt henry taking your top secret clearance with 100% you can’t work. when i got to fort dix ask them about my medical records the staff Sgt and PFC said they were on the way. so i left just with my last pay received my DD-214 a month later saying honorable Dishcarge sgt in remarks saying unsatisfactory job performance so i call someone at the DAV in Philadelphia they told me it was to speed up your process and to get my rating at your 100% and i call Fort Dix New Jersey i was told i could not run anymore do any hard physical work because of your injuries you could not do your job. But i know i had to handle all personal information for vets including money allotments i was always 100% except one time when the code was changed i did not get the memo.I did very good in school in Indiana eve got a special skill identifyer. they post was different from was i was trained so i had to adjust. so i except their words and i would never get my medical records when calling the VA i Philadelphia i was told the president made the war priority casualties war started 3 weeks after i was out of the military 1990. so 26 years passed been trying to get my medical Record i finally thought they were coming in June 14 that what the record s guy told me in 2016 called records in june they finally picked up the phone in July 2016 told me Cleveland had a hold on them , i could not get any answers in 2005 i was told that back paying me would be to much money i said really much money as the government wast and i been trying to better my health. and claim been in since 2005 unanswered so when it was sent through to judge in DC in was sent back because he no longer works there. VA in Columbus OHIO has been treating me dirty lying about my MRI’s when i went to Ohio State Hospital they wrote a through report on my body conditions including my neck and spine fracture in their CNP exam for my clams in 2004 luck i got a copy of the report because they never entered my report in my medical file they have me mixed up with a Vietnam veteran all the time.from med 90’s to 2010 now they ask me when i give them my last four digits what my first name. but they been making up a history for me i had surgery and have a metal plate in my neck the doctor said i need more but can’t afford it.But the staff and team i am on and the MrI area say no stenosis or herniated disc . But the 2004 cleveland clinic said 2016 sai the same as what was said by OSU docters in 2014 they sent me on another CNP exam and was told to give doctor paper work because someone from Cleveland kept calling to doctor to see if i was in office i brought in a rep from the marine corps league. because i new something dirty was going to happen the supposed examiner did not have a name tag on he was black he ask me my name twice so i asked his name the supposed doctor went crazy started yelling at me so i looked at him like wow. But he never sent any of my paper work to cleveland. from my service connected injury i had to pay for. Cleveland sent me 77 miles out to Dayton Military Hospital for a CNP exam i was seen by a female doctor from India she wrote what she intemperate what was wrong Cleveland Regional DAV office sent me back this time the doctor looked upset she did and exam and was using negative reports from Columbus Ohio to deny all my claims i told her that them reprots are false i have reports from other doctors and just had spinal surgery in may 2016 I know this off subject from the Topic, But these things go on Cleveland VA someone i don’t know is still blocking me i called to Senator Sherod Brown office because they did not want me to come in don’t know why but records were sent to me on a disc and all i can see is forms that were erased see writing but they were whited out even from my accident at Fort Bragg Military Hospital forms words was erased you can see a little they even have work when i was in basic training coming out of shower assaulted coming out shower they said if i file charges i would have to leave the military 1984 in the fall. I had a cracked i socked all the have written was 13 stitches. Corruption Big time. if i would have known i would have ask JAG for help. I have more even the Navy in Philadelphia i someone had a wire clothes line in tree line accident where i was running or exercise while on Christmas leave almost lost my eye sight the hospital My cousin drove me to hospital it was Secred heart Hospital they changed the name but i was told to go to Whyl’s EYE Hospital in Philadelphia my eye lens were cut and from one corner o my right to left eye skin eye lids and between eyes were pink lost skin from burn. i was told to go to the Navel base for further treatment i was given eye drops for infection pain medication because i could not breath good 1985 this happen December or 1986. Them records missing. after all these years waiting now they can’t find them. I have not been on my email in 6 years so i don’t know here is my number i should be in the Guinness Book World Record for surviving a 900 foot drop from an airplane. my number is 614-900-3963 i you know someone that can brake the code of silence in and have JAG or anyone investigate.Thanks

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *