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Effects of balneotherapy on serum IL-1, PGE2 and LTB4 levels in fibromyalgia patients

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical effects of balneotherapy in the treatment of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) and to determine if balneotherapy influences serum levels of inflammation markers, IL-1, PGE2 and LTB4. 24 primary fibromyalgia female patients diagnosed according to American College of Rheumatology criteria were included to the study. Their ages ranged between 33 and 55 years. FMS patients were randomly assigned in two groups as, group 1 (n = 12) and group 2 (n = 12). Group 1 received 20-min bathing, once in a day for five days per week. Patients participated in the study for 3 weeks (total of 15 sessions) in Denizli. Group 2 did not receive balneotherapy. FMS patients were evaluated by tenderness measurements (tender point count and algometry), Visual Analogue Scale, Beck’s Depression Index, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire. Ten healthy women recruited group three as the controls. Serum PGE2, LTB4 and IL1-α levels were measured in all three groups. The biochemical measurements and clinical assessments were performed before and at the end of general period of therapy. Statistically significant alterations in algometric score, Visual Analogue score, Beck’s Depression Index and PGE2 levels (< 0.001), numbers of tender points (< 0.01) and Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score (< 0.05) were found after the balneotherapy between group 1 and 2. Mean PGE2 level of FMS patients were higher compared to healthy control group (< 0.0001) and decreased after the treatment period, only in group 1 (< 0.05). As in the group 2 and 3, detectable IL-1 and LTB4 measurements were insufficient, statistical analysis was performed, only in group 1. After balneotherapy IL-1 and LTB4 significantly decreased in group 1 (< 0.05). In conclusion, balneotherapy is an effective choice of treatment in patients with FMS relieving the clinical symptoms, and possibly influencing the inflammatory mediators.

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The authors acknowledge the financial support of Pamukkale University Research Fund (Project number: 2002MHF001). We would like to thank the managers of the Richmond SPA Resort.

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Correspondence to Füsun Ardıç.

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Ardıç, F., Özgen, M., Aybek, H. et al. Effects of balneotherapy on serum IL-1, PGE2 and LTB4 levels in fibromyalgia patients. Rheumatol Int 27, 441–446 (2007).

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