The Influence of Pro-inflammatory Cytokines and Genetic Variants in the Development of Fibromyalgia: A Traditional Review

Cureus. 2020 Sep 6;12(9):e10276. doi: 10.7759/cureus.10276.


Fibromyalgia is a complex syndrome characterized by widespread chronic pain, without any obvious etiology, and it is often accompanied by a constellation of symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances and cognitive dysfunction, to name a few. The syndrome may be associated with a variety of autoimmune and psychiatric conditions. Fibromyalgia can occur with other musculoskeletal pathologies and its symptoms can overlap with other chronic painful conditions such as chronic myofascial pain syndromes seen in cervical and lumbar spinal osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Gene polymorphisms have been related to a decreased pain threshold and an increased susceptibility to disorders associated with chronic pain. Some of those genetic variants might trigger the onset of fibromyalgia. Researchers are looking into the possible factors that might contribute to its pathophysiology. It is important to study the connections between pro-inflammatory cytokines and genetic variants in pain-related genes and their roles in predisposition and development of fibromyalgia. The objective of this review article is to provide a brief overview of the pro-inflammatory cytokines commonly associated with fibromyalgia, as well as to look into the genes that have shown some level of involvement in the development of fibromyalgia and its symptomatology.

Keywords: cytokines; fibromyalgia; fibromyalgia and cytokines; fibromyalgia and inflammation; genetic and sleep disturbances; genetics and insomnia; interleukin 17; interleukin 8; pain and genetics; pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Review