Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome in children

Pediatr Int. 2012 Apr;54(2):266-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2011.03514.x. Epub 2012 Jan 12.


Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread persistent pain and the presence of multiple discrete tender points. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a syndrome characterized by debilitating fatigue associated with a variable number of non-specific complaints. Because neither condition had necessarily been recognized in children until recently, those patients have been treated as having school refusal without being diagnosed as having either syndrome. There is a considerable overlap of clinical symptoms between these two syndromes. It is therefore controversial as to whether these syndromes have the same pathogenesis or not. The aim of the present study was to clarify the relationship between these syndromes in children.

Methods: Fifteen patients with FM and 21 patients with CFS were investigated both clinically and immunologically. Immunological assessments included thorough analysis of autoantibodies using several techniques.

Results: Anti-nuclear antibody titers were higher and the prevalence of anti-Sa antibody was far more frequent in CFS patients than in FM patients.

Conclusion: CFS and FM are different from each other at least in childhood, from an immunological aspect, although some patients could have both conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / analysis
  • Blotting, Western
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / diagnosis
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology
  • Fibromyalgia / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Male


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear