Peripheral and central sensitization in fibromyalgia: pathogenetic role

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2002 Aug;6(4):259-66. doi: 10.1007/s11916-002-0046-1.


Characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome include widespread pain, fatigue, sleep abnormalities, and distress. Patients with fibromyalgia show psychophysical evidence of mechanical, thermal, and electrical hyperalgesia. Peripheral and central abnormalities of nociception have been described in fibromyalgia. Important nociceptor systems in the skin and muscles seem to undergo profound changes in patients with fibromyalgia through unknown mechanisms. They include sensitization of vanilloid receptor, acid-sensing ion channel receptors, and purino-receptors. Tissue mediators of inflammation and nerve growth factors can excite these receptors and cause extensive changes in pain sensitivity, but patients with fibromyalgia lack consistent evidence for inflammatory soft tissue abnormalities. Therefore, recent investigations have focused on central nervous system mechanisms of pain in fibromyalgia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Nociceptors / physiopathology
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology*