What is the role of genetics in the etiology of fibromyalgia?

Updated: Feb 07, 2019
  • Author: Regina P Gilliland, MD; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Increasing evidence suggests that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the etiopathology of fibromyalgia. The most probable mode of inheritance is polygenic. According to Olson, early results of studies involving more than 140 families may confirm that the genes associated with serotonin play a role in fibromyalgia. [22]

Some evidence indicates that the etiology of fibromyalgia may involve polymorphisms of genes in the serotonergic, catecholaminergic, and dopaminergic systems. [23] Reeser reported in his study that the apolipoprotein E4 (Apo E4) genotype and selected environmental exposures (motor vehicle accidents) increases the risk of subsequent diagnosis of fibromyalgia. [24] One hundred fifty-one case subjects diagnosed with fibromyalgia and 300 control subjects participated in the study. Apo E4 genotype was determined by single nucleotide polymorphism analysis in both case subjects with fibromyalgia and in the control group. Although these data suggest that specific interaction between individuals with at least one copy of the Apo E4 allele and the involvement in a motor vehicle accident may increase the risk of being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it does not appear to influence the degree of pain or degree of functioning among the cases diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Future genetic studies are needed in the fields of fibromyalgia and related conditions.

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