Fibromyalgia likely the result of autoimmune problems

SWAlexander

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Summary: New research has shown that many of the symptoms in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are caused by antibodies that increase the activity of pain-sensing nerves throughout the body. The results show that fibromyalgia is a disease of the immune system, rather than the currently held view that it originates in the brain.
New research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool and the Karolinska Institute, has shown that many of the symptoms in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) are caused by antibodies that increase the activity of pain-sensing nerves throughout the body.


The results show that fibromyalgia is a disease of the immune system, rather than the currently held view that it originates in the brain.
The study, published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, demonstrates that the increased pain sensitivity, muscle weakness, reduced movement, and reduced number of small nerve-fibres in the skin that are typical of FMS, are all a consequence of patient antibodies.
The researchers injected mice with antibodies from people living with FMS and observed that the mice rapidly developed an increased sensitivity to pressure and cold, as well as displaying reduced movement grip strength. In contrast, mice that were injected with antibodies from healthy people were unaffected, demonstrating that patient antibodies cause, or at least are a major contributor to the disease.
Furthermore, the mice injected with fibromyalgia antibodies recovered after a few weeks, when antibodies had been cleared from their system. This finding strongly suggests that therapies which reduce antibody levels in patients are likely to be effective treatments. Such therapies are already available and are used to treat other disorders that are caused by autoantibodies.
Dr David Andersson, the study's primary investigator from King's IoPPN said "The implications of this study are profound. Establishing that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disorder will transform how we view the condition and should pave the way for more effective treatments for the millions of people affected. Our work has uncovered a whole new area of therapeutic options and should give real hope to fibromyalgia patients.
"Previous exploration of therapies has been hampered by our limited understanding of the illness. This should now change. Treatment for FMS is focussed on gentle aerobic exercises, as well as drug and psychological therapies designed to manage pain, although these have proven ineffective in most patients and have left behind an enormous unmet clinical need."
Current estimates suggest that at least 1 in 40 people are affected by FMS worldwide (80% of which are women) and is commonly characterised by widespread pain throughout the body, as well as fatigue (often referred to as 'fibro fog') and emotional distress. It most commonly develops between the ages of 25 and 55, although children can also get it.
Dr Andreas Goebel, the study's principle clinical investigator from the University of Liverpool said, "When I initiated this study in the UK, I expected that some fibromyalgia cases may be autoimmune. But David's team have discovered pain-causing antibodies in each recruited patient. The results offer amazing hope that the invisible, devastating symptoms of fibromyalgia will become treatable."
Professor Camilla Svensson, the study's primary investigator from Karolinska Institute said, "Antibodies from people with FMS living in two different countries, the UK and Sweden, gave similar results, which adds enormous strength to our findings. The next step will be to identify what factors the symptom-inducing antibodies bind to. This will help us not only in terms of developing novel treatment strategies for FMS, but also of blood-based tests for diagnosis, which are missing today.
Dr Craig Bullock, Research Discovery and Innovations Lead at Versus Arthritis said "Fibromyalgia affects millions of people in the UK and can have a devastating impact on quality of life. It causes pain all over the body, fatigue, disturbed sleep and regular flare-ups where symptoms get even worse.
"Fibromyalgia is a particularly difficult condition to diagnose and manage because its causes are unknown. This research shows that antibodies found in human blood can cause fibromyalgia-like symptoms in mice, suggesting that these antibodies play a crucial role in the condition. Further research is needed but this offers hope to the millions of people with fibromyalgia that an effective treatment could be found in the relatively near future."
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210701120703.htm
 
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This research shows that antibodies found in human blood can cause fibromyalgia-like symptoms in mice, suggesting that these antibodies play a crucial role in the condition.
I wonder if the researchers will be trying to see if injecting those antibodies into healthy humans causes fibro in them. Or would it be unethical to do that?
 

lenora

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As a person with FM myself, Andy, I would not want to expose anyone to such research. Surely it can be studied in a different way.

If it's not alright to use animals, surely we wouldn't want to use people, would we? Yours, Lenora.
 

SWAlexander

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I wonder what kind of antibodies are pain-causing? So far no blood-based tests are available, yet.
I wonder if the researchers will be trying to see if injecting those antibodies into healthy humans causes fibro in them. Or would it be unethical to do that?
Dr. Josef Mengele (Nazi) would have no problem using humans.
 
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Treeman

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The next step will be to identify what factors the symptom-inducing antibodies bind to.
Hurry up.

Such therapies are already available and are used to treat other disorders that are caused by autoantibodies.
What are the treatments?

wonder if the researchers will be trying to see if injecting those antibodies into healthy humans causes fibro in them. Or would it be unethical to do that?
It would save the mice.....I often wonder about the animals used in these kind of experiments and how barbaric it seems. Then I stop and eat a burger. One day there will be a better way all round, hopefully.
 

SWAlexander

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More on Fibromyalgia

Immune Cells May Be Killing the Small Nerve Fibers in Fibromyalgia
After decades of surveying chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) literature, the study, “Unbiased immune profiling reveals a natural killer cell-peripheral nerve axis in fibromyalgia“, counts as a big and potentially momentous surprise – and a very welcome one at that. Not that we should be surprised about being surprised in either FM or chronic fatigue syndrome. The authors point out with respect to FM, we really don’t understand what’s going on, and that lack of understanding has shown up in spades in the ineffectiveness of many FM drugs that the authors note fail to impart any “meaningful clinical benefit”.

So maybe we should look elsewhere, and that’s exactly what this Canadian-led international study did. Featuring researchers from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, the U.S., and Germany (including two major figures Nuncan Uceleyer and Claudia Sommers) this group eschewed the central nervous system and looked south to the body and a system – the immune system – that’s gathered more notice of late.

Then, instead of locking themselves down with a hypothesis, they opened things up with an exploratory “hypothesis-free, unbiased” multifactorial study featuring flow cytometry. In flow cytometry, individual cells are passed through a laser. Since each cell scatters the laser light a bit differently, researchers are able to quickly identify and assess the characteristics of tens of thousands of different cells in the blood.

Results
I felt like rubbing my eyes. Natural killer cells? THE immune cell associated with ME/CFS? Possibly playing a major role in fibromyalgia? Yes! This unbiased study found that of all the immune cells assessed, natural killer cells (NK) were the ones that popped up.

Natural killer cell studies actually go way back in FM – they were first studied back in 1999 – but they’ve been kind of a sideshow in FM while they’ve been a major research topic in ME/CFS. We’re talking a couple of studies in FM versus dozens in ME/CFS over the years.

NK cells man the front lines of our immune defense – helping to hold the invaders at bay, while the big guns of the immune response, the T and B cells, gather their forces together. Reduced NK cell killing power or cytotoxicity has long been surmised to give pathogens quicker and deeper entry into people with ME/CFS.

This fibromyalgia study, though, could give NK cells a far more central role in these diseases. The immune system, with its multiple layers of defense, could potentially make up for some of the NK cell problems seen. This FM study, though, could link NK cells to the pain and sensory problems found in these diseases, and if Novak and Systrom find that the small nerve problems extend deeper to the autonomic nervous system nerves, to blood flows, gut problems, and more, that would be groundbreaking.

While a major subset of NK cells (D56dim) was depleted, the most significant finding was the reduction of a subset of regulatory NK cells called CD56bri. These cells have been implicated in a variety of pathological immune states including autoimmunity, neuroinflammation, cancer, and infection.

The CD56bri NK cells in the FM patients displayed a unique activation state: their cell surfaces had fewer CD16, CD226, and CD96 receptors, and more CD107are receptors. (The receptors found on the surface of a cell tell us what the cells have encountered and what the cells are up to. If a cell, say, has come into contact with a pathogen, it will display certain kinds of receptors that: a) inform the immune system, and b) enhance the cells’ ability to respond to that threat.
This fibromyalgia study, though, could give NK cells a far more central role in these diseases. The immune system, with its multiple layers of defense, could potentially make up for some of the NK cell problems seen. This FM study, though, could link NK cells to the pain and sensory problems found in these diseases, and if Novak and Systrom find that the small nerve problems extend deeper to the autonomic nervous system nerves, to blood flows, gut problems, and more, that would be groundbreaking.

This fibromyalgia study, though, could give NK cells a far more central role in these diseases. The immune system, with its multiple layers of defense, could potentially make up for some of the NK cell problems seen. This FM study, though, could link NK cells to the pain and sensory problems found in these diseases, and if Novak and Systrom find that the small nerve problems extend deeper to the autonomic nervous system nerves, to blood flows, gut problems, and more, that would be groundbreaking.
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continue reading: https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2022/04/29/natural-killer-small-nerve-fibers-fibromyalgia/
 
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Pyrrhus

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After decades of surveying chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia (FM) literature, the study, “Unbiased immune profiling reveals a natural killer cell-peripheral nerve axis in fibromyalgia“, counts as a big and potentially momentous surprise
I have started a separate discussion for that publication:

Unbiased immune profiling reveals a natural killer cell-peripheral nerve axis in fibromyalgia (Verma et al., 2021)
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/thr...-axis-in-fibromyalgia-verma-et-al-2021.87598/