Fibromyalgia as a neuro-immunoendocrine disorder

Fibromyalgia is associated with increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone – corticotropin-releasing hormone has been shown to activate NF-kB.

Fibromyalgia is associated with increased levels of substance P, which is also known to activate NF-kappaB.

Fibromyalgia is associated with inflammation, as evidenced both by the frequent occurrence of other inflammatory conditions in those with fibromyalgia, and by the observation that pro-inflammatory cytokines are found at higher levels in the blood and cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) of fibromyalgia patients.

The author of the study briefly summarized below suggests the use of anti-inflammatory supplements in the treatment of fibromyalgia and notes that these may be safely combined with other treatments.

The publication:

January, 2006

Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.

Summary of the abstract

Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a debilitating disorder characterized by chronic diffuse muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression and skin sensitivity.

Patients with fibromyalgia often have other conditions as well, especially migraines, interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome.

The cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, but there is evidence of increased corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and substance P (SP) in the CSF of FMS patients, as well as increased SP, IL-6 and IL-8 in their serum.

Increased numbers of activated mast cells were also noted in skin biopsies. The hypothesis is put forward that FMS is a neuro-immunoendocrine disorder where increased release of CRH and SP from neurons in specific muscle sites triggers local mast cells to release proinflammatory and neurosensitizing molecules.

Recent nutraceutical formulations containing the natural anti-inflammatory and mast cell inhibitory flavonoid quercetin hold promise since they can be used together with other treatment modalities.

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