Changes in platelet alpha-2-adrenoceptors in fibromyalgia (FM): effects of treatment with antidepressants

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The aim of this study was to determine platelet

alpha(2)-adrenergic receptor (alpha(2)-AR) binding sites in

fibromyalgia both before and after treatment with sertraline

or placebo. The maximum number of binding sites (B(max)) and

their affinity (K(d)) for [(3)H]rauwolscine, a selective

alpha(2)-AR antagonist, were measured in 13 normal volunteers

and 22 fibromyalgia patients. Severity of illness was

evaluated by means of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

(HDRS) and dolorimetric assessments of tenderness at tender

points. Fibromyalgia patients had repeated measurements of

[(3)H]rauwolscine binding characteristics both before and

after subchronic treatment with sertraline or placebo for 12

weeks. [(3)H]rauwolscine binding K(d) values were

significantly higher in fibromyalgia patients than in normal

volunteers. There were significant inverse correlations

between [(3)H]rauwolscine binding K(d) values and duration of

illness, age and lower energy. Significantly higher

[(3)H]rauwolscine binding K(d) values were found in

fibromyalgia patients in an early phase of illness (<3 years)

than in fibromyalgia patients with a protracted illness (>3

years). Repeated administration of sertraline had no

significant effects on [(3)H]rauwolscine binding B(max) or

K(d) values. The results suggest that fibromyalgia and, in

particular, fibromyalgia in an early phase of illness, is

accompanied by lowered affinity of platelet alpha(2)-ARs.

Maes M, Libbrecht I, Delmeire L, Lin A, De Clerck L, Scharpe S,

Janca A

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