Reduced Presynaptic Dopamine Activity in Fibromyalgia Syndrome Demonstrated With Positron Emission Tomography: A Pilot Study

Journal: The Journal of Pain. 2006 October 3; [E-publication ahead of print] Authors and Affiliations: Wood PB, Patterson Ii JC, Sunderland JJ, Tainter KH, Glabus MF, Lilien DL. Departments of Family Medicine and Anesthesiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana; Department of Psychiatry, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, Shreveport, Louisiana. PMID: 17023218

Although the pathophysiology underlying the pain of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) remains unknown, a variety of clinical and investigational findings suggests a dysregulation of dopaminergic neurotransmission. We therefore investigated presynaptic dopaminergic function in 6 female FMS patients in comparison to 8 age- and gender-matched controls as assessed by positron emission tomography with 6-[(18)F]fluoro-L-DOPA as a tracer.

Semiquantitative analysis revealed reductions in 6-[(18)F]fluoro-L-DOPA uptake in several brain regions, indicating a disruption of presynaptic dopamine activity wherein dopamine plays a putative role in natural analgesia. Although the small sample size makes these findings preliminary, it appears that FMS might be characterized by a disruption of dopaminergic neurotransmission.

Perspective: An association between FMS and reduced dopamine metabolism within the pain neuromatrix provides important insights into the pathophysiology of this mysterious disorder.

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