Editor's comment: Many studies have shown high levels of oxidative stress in fibromyalgia patients. Oxidative stress is usually determined by measuring lipid peroxidation (LPO) in blood plasma. [Lipid peroxidation is the process in which free radicals “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, causing damage to the cells.] However, there have been some discrepancies about the correlation between FM symptoms and LPO using this method. This study was undertaken to determine whether measuring LPO in the cells themselves – specifically blood mononuclear cells – rather than in the plasma would result in a more consistent correlation between LPO and the clinical symptoms of FM. [Blood mononuclear cells (BMCs) are any blood cells that have a round nucleus, including lymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages. BMCs are a critical component of the immune system.]
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Clinical Symptoms in Fibromyalgia Are Better Associated to Lipid Peroxidation Levels in Blood Mononuclear Cells Rather than in Plasma
By Mario D. Cordero, et al.
Background: We examined lipid peroxidation (LPO) in blood mononuclear cells (BMCs) and plasma, as a marker of oxidative damage, and its association to clinical symptoms in Fibromyalgia (FM) patients.
Methods: We conducted a case–control and correlational study comparing 65 patients and 45 healthy controls. Clinical parameters were evaluated using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), visual analogues scales (VAS), and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Oxidative stress was determined by measuring LPO in BMCs and plasma.
Results: We found increased LPO levels in BMCs and plasma from FM patients as compared to normal control (P<0.001).
A significant correlation between LPO in BMCs and clinical parameters was observed (r = 0.584, P<0.001 for VAS; r = 0.823, P<0.001 for FIQ total score; and r = 0.875, P<0.01 for depression in the BDI).
We also found a positive correlation between LPO in plasma and clinical symptoms (r = 0.452, P<0.001 for VAS; r = 0.578, P<0.001 for FIQ total score; and r = 0.579, P<0.001 for depression in the BDI).
Partial correlation analysis controlling for age and BMI, and sex, showed that both LPO in cells and plasma were independently associated to clinical symptoms.
However, LPO in cells, but not LPO in plasma, was independently associated to clinical symptoms when controlling for depression (BDI scores).
Discussion: The results of this study suggest a role for oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia and that LPO in BMCs rather than LPO in plasma is better associated to clinical symptoms in FM.
Source: PloS ONE, October 28, 2011. By Mario D. Cordero, Elísabet Alcocer-Gómez, Francisco J. Cano-García, Manuel De Miguel, Angel M. Carrión, Plácido Navas and José A. Sánchez Alcázar. Hospital Vall d?Hebron, Spain.