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Clear differences in cerebrospinal fluid proteome between women with chronic widespread pain and healthy women – a multivariate explorative cross-sectional study

Authors Olausson P, Ghafouri B, Bäckryd E, Gerdle B

Received 25 October 2016

Accepted for publication 22 December 2016

Published 13 March 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 575—590


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Patrik Olausson, Bijar Ghafouri, Emmanuel Bäckryd, Björn Gerdle

Pain and Rehabilitation Centre, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Introduction: Frequent chronic local pain can develop into chronic widespread pain (CWP). The spread of pain is correlated with pain intensity, anxiety, and depression, conditions that ultimately lead to a poor quality of life. Knowledge is incomplete about CWP’s etiology, although it has been suggested that both central hyperexcitability and/or a combination with peripheral factors may be involved. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could act as a mirror for the central nervous system as proteins are signal substances that activate the formation of algesics and control nociceptive processes. To this end, this study investigates the CSF protein expression in women with CWP and in female healthy controls.
Materials and methods: This study included 12 female patients with CWP diagnosed according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria with 13 healthy age- and sex-matched pain-free subjects. All subjects went through a clinical examination and answered a health questionnaire that registered sociodemographic and anthropometric data, pain characteristics, psychological status, and quality of life rating. CSF was collected by lumbar puncture from each subject. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis in combination with mass spectrometry was used to analyze the CSF proteome. This study identifies proteins that significantly discriminate between the two groups using multivariate data analysis (MVDA) (i.e., orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis [OPLS-DA]).
Results: There were no clinically significant levels of psychological distress and catastrophization presented in subjects with CWP. MVDA revealed a highly significant OPLS-DA model where 48 proteins from CSF explained 91% (R2) of the variation and with a prediction of 90% (Q2). The highest discriminating proteins were metabolic, transport, stress, and inflammatory.
Conclusion: The highest discriminating proteins (11 proteins), according to the literature, are involved in apoptotic regulations, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative processes, the immune system, and endogenous repair. The results of this explorative study may indicate the presence of neuro-inflammation in the central nervous system of CWP patients. Future studies should be larger and control for confounders and determine which alterations are unspecific/general and which are specific changes.

Keywords: biomarkers, muscle pain, inflammation

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