Coexistence of Alterations of Gastrointestinal Function and Mechanical Allodynia in the Reserpine-Induced Animal Model of Fibromyalgia

  • Masayuki Uchida
  • Orie Kobayashi
  • Miku Yoshida
  • Machiko Miwa
  • Reina Miura
  • Hiroko Saito
  • Yukinori NagakuraEmail author
Original Article



Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder characterized by widespread chronic pain as core symptom and a broad range of comorbidities. Despite the prevalence of gastrointestinal (GI) comorbidities in patients with FM, GI functions have rarely been investigated in animal models of FM.


The purpose of the present study is to investigate the coexistence of alterations of GI function in the reserpine-induced myalgia (RIM) rat, a validated FM model associated with disruption of monoamine system.


Paw withdrawal threshold (von Frey hair test) was assessed as pain-associated indicator. Gastric emptying (13C breath test), small intestinal transit (charcoal meal test), and fecal water content were investigated as GI functions.


The specific regimen of reserpine for the RIM rat, i.e., 1 mg/kg s.c., once daily for three consecutive days, caused a reduction of paw withdrawal threshold (i.e., mechanical allodynia) on days 3, 5, and 7 after the first injection. The 13CO2 excreted from the RIM rat was significantly increased on day 7. The RIM rat exhibited an acceleration of small intestinal transit on day 5. Fecal water content collected from the RIM rat was significantly increased on days 3 and 5. The amount of noradrenaline was significantly decreased in GI tissues on days 3, 5, and 7 in the RIM rat. Conclusions This study revealed that accelerated gastric emptying, accelerated small intestinal transit, and increase in fecal water content coexist with mechanical allodynia in the RIM rat, simulating the coexistence of chronic pain and alterations of GI function in patients with FM.


Fibromyalgia Reserpine-induced myalgia rat Gastric emptying Intestinal transit Fecal water content Gastrointestinal monoamines 



The authors appreciate the funding from Education and Research Project of Aomori university.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Food Science and Technology Research Laboratories, R&D DivisionMeiji Co., Ltd.TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesAomori UniversityAomoriJapan
  3. 3.Center for Brain and Health SciencesAomori UniversityAomori-cityJapan
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology, School of PharmacyInternational University of Health and WelfareOhtawara-cityJapan

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