Fibromyalgia (FM) has been defined as a systemic disorder clinically characterized by pain, cognitive deficit and the presence of associated psychopathology, all of which are suggestive of a primary brain dysfunction.
In order to identify the nature of this cerebral dysfunction, brain metabolites of FM patients have been studied through MR spectroscopy techniques.
Methods: Brain metabolites in amygdala, thalami and prefrontal cortex were studied through MR spectroscopy techniques in a sample of 28 women with FM, and in a control group of healthy women (n=24) of the same age.
Results: Compared to healthy controls FM patients showed:
• Higher levels of glutamate compounds (Glx) (11,9+/-1,6 vs 13,4+/-1,7 arbitrary institutional units respectively, t= 2.517, df 35, p=0.03)
• And a higher glutamine-glutamate/creatine ratio (Glx/Cr) (2,1+/- 0,4 in controls vs 2,4 +/- 1,4 in FM patients, t=2.373, df 35, p=0.04) in the right amygdala.
In FM patients with more pain, fatigue and depressive symptoms, inositol (Ins) levels were significantly higher in the right amygdala and right thalamus.
Conclusions: The distinctive metabolic features found in the right amygdala of FM patients suggest the possible existence of a neural dysfunction in emotional processing, this being a prolongation of the dysfunction in pain processing previously proposed by some authors.
Source: Arthritis and Rheumatism, Feb 26, 2010. PMID: 20191578, by Valdés M, Collado A, Bargalló N, Vázquez M, Rami L, Gómez E, Salamero M. Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain.