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Med Hypotheses. 2004;62(5):665-9.

Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disorder of endogenous vasoactive neuropeptides?

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1
Gold Coast Public Health Unit, 10-12 Young Street, Southport, Qld 4215, Australia. don_staines@health.qld.gov.au

Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterised by soft tissue pain, disturbance of function an often prolonged course and variable fatigue and debility. A clearly defined aetiology has not been described. This paper proposes that immunological aberration is likely and this may prove to be associated with an expanding group of novel vasoactive neuropeptides. Vasoactive neuropeptides act as hormones, neurotransmitters, immune modulators and neurotrophes. They are readily catalysed to small peptide fragments. They and their binding sites are immunogenic and are known to be associated with a range of autoimmune conditions. They have a vital role in maintaining vascular flow in organs, and in thermoregulation, memory and concentration. They are co-transmitters for acetylcholine, are potent immune regulators with primarily anti-inflammatory activity, and have a significant role in protection of the nervous system to toxic assault and the maintenance of homeostasis. Failure of these substances has adverse consequences for homeostasis. This paper describes a biologically plausible mechanism for the development of FM based on loss of immunological tolerance to the vasoactive neuropeptides. The proposed mechanism of action is that inflammatory cytokines are provoked by tissue injury from unaccustomed exercise or physical injury. This may trigger a response by certain vasoactive neuropeptides which then undergo autoimmune dysfunction as well as affecting their receptor binding sites. The condition may potentially arise de novo perhaps in genetically susceptible individuals. FM is postulated to be an autoimmune disorder and may include dysfunction of purine nucleotide metabolism and nociception.

PMID:
15082086
DOI:
10.1016/j.mehy.2004.01.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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