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J Pain Res. 2016 Jun 2;9:345-56. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S102275. eCollection 2016.

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.

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


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 (R (2)=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 (R (2)=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.


biomarkers; chronic widespread pain; multivariate data analysis; numeric rating scale; pain threshold; proteomics

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