Fibromyalgia (FM) in women. Abnormalities of regional cerebral blood flow in the thalamus & the caudate nucleus are associated with low pain threshold levels

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OBJECTIVE. To determine if regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF)
in the left and right hemithalami or the left and right heads
of the caudate nucleus is abnormal in women with fibromyalgia
(FM).

METHODS. Resting-state rCBF in the hemithalami and left
and right heads of the caudate nucleus of 10 untreated women
with FM and 7 normal control women was measured by [Tc-HMPAO]
single-photon-emission computed tomography. Pain threshold
levels at tender and control points also were assessed in both
the women with FM and the controls.

RESULTS. The rCBF in the
left and right hemithalami and the left and right heads of the
caudate nucleus was significantly lower in women with FM than
in normal controls (P = 0.01, P = 0.003, P = 0.01, and P =
0.02, respectively). Compared with controls, the women with FM
also were characterized by significantly lower cortical rCBF
(P = 0.001) and lower pain threshold levels at both tender
points (P = 0.0001) and control points (P = 0.0001).

CONCLUSION. The findings of low rCBF and generalized low pain
thresholds support the hypothesis that abnormal pain
perception in women with FM may result from a functional
abnormality within the central nervous system.

Mountz JM, Bradley LA, Modell JG, Alexander RW, Triana-Alexander M,
Aaron LA, Stewart KE, Alarcon GS, Mountz JD

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