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Proinflammatory cytokines and DHEA-S in women with fibromyalgia: impact of psychological distress and menopausal status

Authors Sturgeon J, Darnall B, Zwickey H, Wood L, Hanes D, Zava D, Mackey S

Received 18 July 2014

Accepted for publication 27 August 2014

Published 4 December 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 707—716

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S71344

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman


John A Sturgeon,1 Beth D Darnall,1 Heather L Zwickey,2 Lisa J Wood,3 Douglas A Hanes,2 David T Zava,4 Sean C Mackey1

1Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Palo Alto, CA, USA; 2Helfgott Research Institute, National College of Natural Medicine, Portland, OR, USA; 3MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA, USA; 4ZRT Laboratories, Beaverton, OR, USA

Abstract: Though fibromyalgia is not traditionally considered an inflammatory disorder, evidence for elevated inflammatory processes has been noted in this disorder in multiple studies. Support for inflammatory markers in fibromyalgia has been somewhat equivocal to date, potentially due to inattention to salient patient characteristics that may affect inflammation, such as psychiatric distress and aging milestones like menopause. The current study examined the relationships between proinflammatory cytokines and hormone levels, pain intensity, and psychological distress in a sample of 34 premenopausal and postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia. Our results indicated significant relationships between interleukin-8 and ratings of pain catastrophizing (r=0.555, P<0.05), pain anxiety (r=0.559, P<0.05), and depression (r=0.551, P<0.05) for postmenopausal women but not premenopausal women (r<0.20 in all cases). Consistent with previous studies, ratios of interleukin-6 to interleukin-10 were significantly lower in individuals with greater levels of depressive symptoms (r=−0.239, P<0.05). Contrary to previous research, however, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate did not correlate with pain intensity or psychological or biological variables. The results of the current study highlight the importance of psychological functioning and milestones of aging in the examination of inflammatory processes in fibromyalgia.

Keywords: fibromyalgia, cytokines, psychological distress, inflammation

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