What is the role of substance P 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

Substance P is a neurotransmitter that is released when axons are stimulated. Elevated levels of substance P increase the sensitivity of nerves to pain or heighten awareness of pain. Four independent studies have found that levels of substance P are 2 to 3 times higher than normal in the CSF of patients with fibromyalgia. [37] These elevated levels cause fairly normal stimuli to result in exaggerated nociception.

Some authors believe that neither elevated substance P levels nor low serotonin levels alone can be the primary cause. Instead, the dual dysfunction may be responsible for fibromyalgia.


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