Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 291–300 | Cite as

Neurogenic inflammation in fibromyalgia

  • Geoffrey LittlejohnEmail author
  • Emma Guymer


Fibromyalgia is a high impact chronic pain disorder with a well-defined and robust clinical phenotype. Key features include widespread pain and tenderness, high levels of sleep disturbance, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction and emotional distress. Abnormal processing of pain and other sensory input occurs in the brain, spinal cord and periphery and is related to the processes of central and peripheral sensitization. As such, fibromyalgia is deemed to be one of the central sensitivity syndromes. There is increasing evidence of neurogenically derived inflammatory mechanisms occurring in the peripheral tissues, spinal cord and brain in fibromyalgia. These involve a variety of neuropeptides, chemokines and cytokines with activation of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. This process results in several of the peripheral clinical features of fibromyalgia, such as swelling and dysesthesia, and may influence central symptoms, such as fatigue and changes in cognition. In turn, emotional and stress-related physiological mechanisms are seen as upstream drivers of neurogenic inflammation in fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia Neurogenic Inflammation Neuropeptides Cytokines Chemokines Brain Pain 


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of MedicineMonash University, and Rheumatology, MonashHealthMelbourneAustralia

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