Blunted Anti-Inflammatory Response to Exercise Increases Fibromyalgia Symptoms


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Preliminary evidence of a blunted anti-inflammatory response to exhaustive exercise in fibromyalgia.


Exercise intolerance, as evidenced by a worsening of pain, fatigue, and stiffness after novel exertion, is a key feature of fibromyalgia (FM). In this pilot study, we investigate whether; insufficient muscle repair processes and impaired anti-inflammatory mechanisms result in an exaggerated pro-inflammatory cytokine response to exhaustive exercise, and consequently a worsening of muscle pain, stiffness and fatigue in the days post-exercise.

We measured changes in muscle pain and tenderness, fatigue, stiffness, and serum levels of neuroendocrine and inflammatory cytokine markers in 20 women with FM and 16 healthy controls (HCs) before and after exhaustive treadmill exercise.

Compared to HCs, FM participants failed to mount the expected anti-inflammatory response to exercise and experienced a worsening of symptoms post-exercise. However, changes in post-exertional symptoms were not mediated by post-exertional changes in pro-inflammatory cytokine levels. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Source: Journal of Neuroimmunology, October 17, 2014. By Britta Torgrimson-Ojerio, Rebecca L. Ross, Nathan F. Dieckmann, Stephanie Avery, Robert M. Bennett, Kim D. Jones, Anthony J. Guarino and Lisa J. Wood. School of Nursing, Oregon Health Science University, Portland, OR 97239, United States.

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