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Unique immunologic patterns in fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia' started by Ecoclimber, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Ecoclimber

    Ecoclimber Senior Member

    Unique immunologic patterns in fibromyalgia

    Frederick G Behm1, Igor M Gavin2, Oleksiy Karpenko2, Valerie Lindgren1, Sujata Gaitonde1, Peter A Gashkoff1 and Bruce S Gillis1*
    Author Affiliations
    1 Department of Pathology, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Chicago, IL, USA
    2 Research Resource Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
    For all author emails, please log on.
    BMC Clinical Pathology 2012, 12:25 doi:10.1186/1472-6890-12-25

    The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

    Received: 8 July 2012
    Accepted: 10 December 2012
    Published: 17 December 2012

    © 2012 Behm et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


    Fibromyalgia (FM) is a clinical syndrome characterized by chronic pain and allodynia. The diagnosis of FM has been one of exclusion as a test to confirm the diagnosis is lacking. Recent data highlight the role of the immune system in FM. Aberrant expressions of immune mediators, such as cytokines, have been linked to the pathogenesis and traits of FM. We therefore determined whether cytokine production by immune cells is altered in FM patients by comparing the cellular responses to mitogenic activators of stimulated blood mononuclear cells of a large number of patients with FM to those of healthy matched individuals.


    Plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were collected from 110 patients with the clinical diagnosis of FM and 91 healthy donors. Parallel samples of PBMC were cultured overnight in medium alone or in the presence of mitogenic activators; PHA or PMA in combination with ionomycin. The cytokine concentrations of IFN-γ, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, MIP-1β , MCP-1, and MIP1-α in plasma as well as in cultured supernatants were determined using a multiplex immunoassay using bead array technology.


    Cytokine levels of stimulated PBMC cultures of healthy control subjects were significantly increased as compared to matched non-stimulated PBMC cultures. In contrast, the concentrations of most cytokines were lower in stimulated samples from patients with FM compared to controls. The decreases of cytokine concentrations in patients samples ranged from 1.5-fold for MIP-1β to 10.2-fold for IL-6 in PHA challenges. In PMA challenges, we observed 1.8 to 4-fold decreases in the concentrations of cytokines in patient samples.


    The cytokine responses to mitogenic activators of PBMC isolated from patients with FM were significantly lower than those of healthy individuals, implying that cell-mediated immunity is impaired in FM patients. This novel cytokine assay reveals unique and valuable immunologic traits, which, when combined with clinical patterns, can offer a diagnostic methodology in FM.
    Shell, Enid, Ema and 1 other person like this.
  2. snowathlete


    Interesting Ecoclimber. Nice to see a paper on this.
  3. Shell

    Shell Senior Member

    Interesting stuff. Leaves me wondering if my shoddy immunity is FM related rather than ME - or whether I just have to accept it's all part of the disease stew running amok in my bod.

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