Neurogenic inflammation in fibromyalgia skin

Skin Rash in Fibromyalgia

Neurogenic inflammation found on skin biopsy in about 30% of fibromyalgia patients

Some fibromyalgia patients are reported to respond relatively well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs.)

Some fibromyalgia patients (about 30% in the study below) have evidence of neurogenic inflammation on skin biopsy. This might explain, at least in part, why some patients respond better than others to NSAIDs. Presumably, those with neurogenic inflammation evidenced on skin biopsy might respond more favorably to treatment with NSAIDs.

The role of inflammation in fibromyalgia remains unclear, and controversial. But inflammation clearly plays some role, and may play a significant role, at least for a percentage of fibromyalgia patients.

The publication:

January, 2003

Detection of interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in skin of patients with fibromyalgia.

Summary of the abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine if abnormal collagen metabolism is correlated with neurogenic inflammation, a potential activator of collagen metabolism, in patients with fibromyalgia (FM).

RESULTS: Positive results were detected in skin tissues of FM patients for IL-1, IL-6, and  TNF. None of the cytokines could be detected in healthy control skin.

CONCLUSION: The detection of cytokines in FM skin indicates the presence of inflammatory foci (neurogenic inflammation) in the skin of certain patients (about 30% of FM patients), suggesting an inflammatory component in the induction of pain. This may explain the response to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory therapy in a subset of FM patients.


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