Functional somatic syndrome: How it could be relevant to rheumatologists

Journal: Modern Rheumatology. 2007;17(3):179-84. [E-publication 2007 Jun 20]

Authors and affiliation: Masuko K, Nakamura H. Department of Bioregulation and Proteomics, Institute of Medical Science, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Sugao, Miyamae-ku, Kawasaki, Japan. [E-mail: ]

PMID: 17564771

Functional somatic syndrome (FSS) is defined as a group of related syndromes characterized more by symptoms, suffering, and disability than by structural or functional abnormality.

The diagnostic criteria and/or symptoms of FSS often overlap, and co-morbidity is commonly found among the diseases of FSS. For example, patients with irritable bowel syndrome often suffer from chronic pain, and a high percentage of co-morbidity can be found with Fibromyalgia.

Accumulating evidence indicates the presence of visceral and somatic hyperalgesia [stimuli normally producing trivial discomfort may cause significant pain] in FSS as a common feature, and the central sensitization mechanism has been suggested to play an important role in the pathophysiology of FSS.

In the present article, the authors introduce the concept of FSS focusing on its possible relevance to rheumatology in terms of pain perception. A possible implication of mast cells and proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) in FSS is also reviewed.

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