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Insufficent Anti-inflammatoy Proteins Leads to Chronic Pain

One of the most common medical condition, chronic widespread pain is often difficult to treat as well as often associated with fatigue, depression and poor sleep.//

A link between fibromyalgia(FM)and cytokines was suspected following cancer patients deveolping FM like symptoms after treatment with cytokine interleukin -2. Since then, other studies have shown contradictory results. A new study published in the August 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis) examined cytokine profiles in patients with chronic widespread pain and found that they had significantly lower levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10.

Led by Nurcan ü?eyler of Julius-Maximilians University in Wurzburg, Germany, researchers analyzed cytokines in 40 patients with chronic widespread pain (26 of whom had FM), 40 controls and an additional group of 15 patients. The 40 pain patients had received intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as a novel treatment for pain that was not responsive to standard therapy, while the additional 15 patients did not receive this treatment. Blood samples were analyzed for both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. In addition, patients were asked to rate their pain, fatigue, mood, cognitive function and sleep quality on a scale of 1 to 10.

Patients in the pain group did not differ in the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-2, IL-8 and TNFα, but did have significantly lower levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 compared with the healthy control group. The 15 patients in the additional group showed similar findings, although the difference in IL-10 between this group and the controls was not statistically significant.

The authors point out that there may be several factors involved in the cause of low cytokine levels and how they might be linked to pain. Previous studies have shown that IL-10, administered as a protein or
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