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Abstract: Experimental evaluation of an altered tryptophan metabolism in fibromyalgia

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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2003;527:265-75. Schwarz MJ, Offenbaecher M, Neumeister A, Ackenheil M. Psychiatric Hospital, University of Munich, Nussbaumstr. 7, D – 80336 Munich, Germany. mschwarz@psy.med.uni-muenchen.de

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a prevalent syndrome with chronic pain and a hypothesised underlying disturbance of the tryptophan (TRP) metabolism. We performed a tryptophan depletion (TD) test in 17 FM patients and 17 controls. TRP, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), kynurenine (KYN), and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) were measured. Additionally pain perception was monitored in the FM patients.

FM patients and controls exhibited a decrease of TRP and KYN during TD. 5-HIAA levels also decreased in all controls and in 11 FM patients, but showed a marked increase in 6 FM patients. IL-6 significantly increased during TD in the patients, but not in the controls. Pain perception was not affected in the FM patients.

These data demonstrate an altered TRP metabolism in a subgroup of FM patients, where the TD seems to activate 5-HT metabolism and IL-6 production. Our findings may have diagnostic as well as therapeutic implications in the field of fibromyalgia. PMID: 15206740 [PubMed – in process]

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