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Decreased central mu-opioid receptor availability in Fibromyalgia - Source: The Journal of Neuroscience, Sep 12 2007

  [ 300 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ]
By RE Harris and DJ Clauw, et al. • • September 25, 2007

[Note: 'mu' stands for 'morphine.']

The underlying neurophysiology of acute pain is fairly well characterized, whereas the central mechanisms operative in chronic pain states are less well understood. Fibromyalgia (FM), a common chronic pain condition characterized by widespread pain, is thought to originate largely from altered central neurotransmission.

We compare a sample of 17 FM patients and 17 age- and sex-matched healthy controls, using mu-opioid receptor (MOR) positron emission tomography.

We demonstrate that FM patients display reduced MOR binding potential (BP) within several regions known to play a role in pain modulation, including the nucleus accumbens, the amygdala, and the dorsal cingulate.

MOR BP in the accumbens of FM patients was negatively correlated with affective pain ratings. Moreover, MOR BP throughout the cingulate and the striatum was also negatively correlated with the relative amount of affective pain (McGill, affective score/sensory score) within these patients.

These findings indicate altered endogenous [arising in the body] opioid analgesic activity in FM and suggest a possible reason for why exogenous [administered] opiates appear to have reduced efficacy in this population.

Source: The Journal of Neuroscience. 2007 Sep 12;27(37):10000-6. PMID: 17855614, Harris RE, Clauw DJ, Scott DJ, McLean SA, Gracely RH, Zubieta JK. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. [E-mail:]

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Article Comments Post a Comment

The relevance to low dose naltrexone
Posted by: DiamonDie
Oct 1, 2007
This study may also help explain why low dose naltrexone works for many people with fibromyalgia. There is currently a clinical trial about this subject seeking participants so hopefully we'll know more about LDN's benefits for FM soon.
Reply Reply

Then why do opioids work on me????
Posted by: gracie01
Dec 13, 2007
Did someone misdiagnose me? Cause the only thing that helps my pain are pain pills. Give me a break. Only 17 people were in that study. There are millions of people out there and I know a number of people who need the opioids to even have any quality of life and I am one of them.
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