What is the role of serotonin in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia?

Updated: Nov 14, 2018
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

The most widely acknowledged biochemical abnormality associated with fibromyalgia is abnormally low serotonin levels. Many studies have linked serotonin, a neurotransmitter, to sleep, pain perception, headaches, and mood disorders. Lower-than-normal levels of serotonin have been observed in patients with fibromyalgia. A low platelet serotonin value is believed to be the cause of the low serum levels, which have been correlated with painful symptoms.

Low serotonin levels in the CNS are thought to result from low levels of tryptophan (the amino acid precursor to serotonin) and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (a metabolic by-product) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Investigators have proposed a link between low serotonin levels and symptoms of fibromyalgia [36] ; indeed, many propose that low serotonin levels may cause fibromyalgia in whole or in part.


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