Lymphocyte subpopulations in patients with primary fibromyalgia (FM)

OBJECTIVE. Fibromyalgia (FM) is a clinical entity of unknown

etiology frequently diagnosed in rheumatology. The potential

involvement of the immune system in its pathogenesis has been

suggested. Studies of abnormal T cell subpopulations often

have been inconclusive. We attempted to clear this point by

comparing lymphocyte subpopulations, including some of the

newer activation markers, in patients with FM and healthy


METHODS. Sixty-five patients with FM and 56 healthy

controls were studied. Flow cytometry was used as a

quantification technique to measure lymphocyte subpopulations,

CD3 (T cells), CD19 (B cells), CD16 (natural killer cells),

CD4 (T helper/inducer cells), CD8 (T cytotoxic/suppressor

cell), CD25 (interleukin 2 receptor), CD69 (activation inducer

molecule marker), CD71 (transferrin receptor) and CD54

(ICAM-1); CD4/CD8 ratios were also estimated.


number of T cells expressing activation markers CD69 and CD25

was decreased in patients with FM; the other subpopulations

were similar in patients and controls.

CONCLUSION. Our results

suggest a defect in T cell activation in patients with FM.

Hernanz W, Valenzuela A, Quijada J, Garcia A, de la Iglesia JL,

Gutierrez A, Povedano J, Moreno I, Sanchez B

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