Evidence of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Fibromyalgia: Deviating Muscle Energy Metabolism Detected Using Microdialysis and Magnetic Resonance

J Clin Med. 2020 Oct 31;9(11):3527. doi: 10.3390/jcm9113527.


In fibromyalgia (FM) muscle metabolism, studies are sparse and conflicting associations have been found between muscle metabolism and pain aspects. This study compared alterations in metabolic substances and blood flow in erector spinae and trapezius of FM patients and healthy controls. FM patients (n = 33) and healthy controls (n = 31) underwent a clinical examination that included pressure pain thresholds and physical tests, completion of a health questionnaire, participation in microdialysis investigations of the etrapezius and erector spinae muscles, and also underwent phosphorus-31 magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the erector spinae muscle. At the baseline, FM had significantly higher levels of pyruvate in both muscles. Significantly lower concentrations of phosphocreatine (PCr) and nucleotide triphosphate (mainly adenosine triphosphate) in erector spinae were found in FM. Blood flow in erector spinae was significantly lower in FM. Significant associations between metabolic variables and pain aspects (pain intensity and pressure pain threshold PPT) were found in FM. Our results suggest that FM has mitochondrial dysfunction, although it is unclear whether inactivity, obesity, aging, and pain are causes of, the results of, or coincidental to the mitochondrial dysfunction. The significant regressions of pain intensity and PPT in FM agree with other studies reporting associations between peripheral biological factors and pain aspects.

Keywords: ATP; PCr; chronic pain; fibromyalgia; magnetic resonance imaging; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; microdialysis; muscle.