Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common stress-related painful disorder. There is considerable evidence of neuroimmunologic alterations in FM which may be the consequence of chronic stress and pain or causally involved in the development of this disorder. The endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a pivotal role in mammalian nociception, is activated under stressful conditions and can be an important signaling pathway for immune modulation. The endocannabinoid system could therefore be involved in the complex pathophysiology of FM. We tested this hypothesis by evaluating the effects of stress hormones and the endocannabinoid anandamide on neutrophil function in patients with FM. We determined plasma levels of catecholamines, cortisol and anandamide in 22 patients with primary FM and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Neutrophil function was characterized by measuring the hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) release (oxidative stress) and the ingestion capabilities of neutrophils (microbicidal function). FM patients had significantly higher norepinephrine and anandamide plasma levels. Neutrophils of FM patients showed an elevated spontaneous H(2)O(2) production. The ability of neutrophils to adhere was negatively correlated with serum cortisol levels. Adhesion and phagocytosis capabitities of neutrophils correlated positively with anandamide plasma levels. In conclusion, patients with FM might benefit from pharmacologic manipulation of endocannabinoid signaling which should be tested in controlled studies. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Anandamide and neutrophil function in patients with fibromyalgia / Ines, Kaufmann; Gustav, Schelling; Christoph, Eisner; Hans Peter, Richter; Till, Krauseneck; Michael, Vogeser; Daniela, Hauer; Campolongo, Patrizia; Alexander, Chouker; Antje, Beyer; Manfred, Thiel. - In: PSYCHONEUROENDOCRINOLOGY. - ISSN 0306-4530. - 33:5(2008), pp. 676-685. [10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.02.009]