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Specific proteins of the trapezius muscle correlate with pain intensity and sensitivity – an explorative multivariate proteomic study of the trapezius muscle in women with chronic widespread pain

Authors Olausson P, Ghafouri B, Ghafouri N, Gerdle B

Received 10 December 2015

Accepted for publication 24 February 2016

Published 2 June 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 345—356


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Patrik Olausson, Bijar Ghafouri, Nazdar Ghafouri, Björn Gerdle

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

Abstract: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) including fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) has a high prevalence and is associated with prominent negative consequences. CWP/FMS exhibits morphological and functional alterations in the central nervous system. The importance of peripheral factors for maintaining the central alterations are under debate. In this study, the proteins from biopsies of the trapezius muscle from 18 female CWP/FMS patients and 19 healthy female controls were analyzed. Pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) over the trapezius muscles were registered. Twelve proteins representing five different groups of proteins were important regressors of pain intensity in CWP/FMS (R2=0.99; P<0.001). In the regression of PPT in CWP/FMS, it was found that 16 proteins representing six groups of proteins were significant regressors (R2=0.95, P<0.05). Many of the important proteins were stress and inflammation proteins, enzymes involved in metabolic pathways, and proteins associated with muscle damage, myopathies, and muscle recovery. The altered expression of these proteins may reflect both direct and indirect nociceptive/inflammatory processes as well as secondary changes. The relative importance of the identified proteins and central alterations in CWP need to be investigated in future research. Data from this and the previous study concerning the same cohorts give support to the suggestion that peripheral factors are of importance for maintaining pain aspects in CWP/FMS.

Keywords: chronic widespread pain, proteomics, biomarkers, multivariate data analysis, pain threshold, numeric rating scale

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