Brain inflammation first seen in fibromyalgia

For the first time researchers report having found inflammation in the brain of fibromyalgia patients.

Daniel S. Albrecht, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues, joined a research team led by Anton Forsberg, PhD, Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden to extend the statistical power of the study.

Although there was already evidence that brain inflammation could play a role in fibromyalgia, this was the first time research has shown direct evidence of brain glial activation in a patient with fibromyalgia, a poorly understood and difficult to treat chronic condition.

The results were published September 14, 2018 in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity .

“Glial cell activation, observed in our studies, releases inflammatory mediators that they believe are responsible for sensitizing pain pathways and contributing to symptoms such as fatigue,” study co-author Marco Loggia, PhD says in a press release. , from the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts.

This evidence can pave the way for new treatments and comfort those patients who have been told that their symptoms are psychological.

“There are no good therapeutic options for fibromyalgia, so finding the potential treatment target can lead to the development of more effective and innovative therapies. The presence of objective neurochemical changes in the brains of fibromyalgia patients should help reduce the stigma many patients face, that their symptoms are imaginary and there is nothing really wrong with them, ”comments Marco Loggia.

A group of 31 patients who met criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia by the American College of Rheumatology – ACR (29 women, mean age 50.7 ± 11 years) and 27 healthy controls (25 women, mean age 49.4 ± 11 years) underwent PET / MRI (integrated PET and MRI) of the brain. The study excluded patients with pain other than fibromyalgia.

Using imaging results, the researchers found higher levels of the TSPO glial marker (a translocating protein) in various brain regions in fibromyalgia patients compared to healthy controls. They also found that the degree of glial activation was related to the degree of fatigue reported.

According to the authors, the data found support a potential therapeutic strategy.

Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million adults in the US, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was supported by the International Association for the Study of Pain, the Martinos Center Pilot Grant for Postdoctoral Fellows and the Harvard Catalyst Advance Imaging Pilot . The Swedish part of the study received funding from the Stockholm County Council, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Rheumatism Association and Fibromyalgiförbundet. The study was also funded by the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union and a donation from the Lundblad family.

Leave a Reply

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