Fibromyalgia has been a mysterious disease that causes pain throughout the body and in deep tissues without apparent cause. A large part of the medical community has believed that the disease was psychosomatic, and people essentially think they are suffering. But a small biopharmaceutical company, Intidyn or Integrated Tissue Dynamics, has discovered what they believe is the root cause of the disease.
Researchers from the company and Albany Medical College discovered that there is a unique neurovascular structure, or blood flow to the nerves, in the skin of patients who report pain from fibromyalgia. This, scientists believe, may be the ultimate cause of the pain experienced in the condition.
“Instead of being in the brain, the pathology consists of an excess of sensory nerve fibers around specialized structures of blood vessels located in the palms of the hands,” said Dr. Frank L. Rice, president of Intidyn and the researcher main study, in a press release
The constriction of the blood vessels can be controlled by the nerves in the skin. Patients with fibromyalgia have an abnormally high number of nerve endings that surround a bridge of blood vessels in the skin.
“This discovery provides concrete evidence of a specific pathology for fibromyalgia that can now be used to diagnose the disease, and as a new starting point to develop more effective therapies.”
A few years ago, the company published a report in the magazine Pain about a case related to a woman who was born without special nerve endings that at that time were considered important for contact. But the woman was fine and could continue with her life. He had nerve endings near the thin capillary blood vessels in his skin, which previously was thought to only control the flow of blood in the blood vessels. “Previously we thought that these nerve endings were only involved in the regulation of blood flow at the subconscious level, however, here we had evidence that the endings of the blood vessels could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch … and also pain”, Rice said.
The current targeted drugs, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Forest Labs, are serotonin / norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) that work in the brain. But, they can also act on the nerve endings near the blood vessels in the skin. “Knowing how these drugs were supposed to work on brain molecules,” added Dr. Philip J. Albrecht, Ph.D., “we had evidence that similar molecules were involved in the function of nerve endings in blood vessels. . Therefore, we hypothesized that fibromyalgia could involve a pathology in that location. ” As the results show, they were correct.
The company’s research team examined skin samples from women with fibromyalgia collected by Albany Medical College and examined by special microscope technology. What they saw was an amazing increase in the nerve endings at the site of the blood vessels within the skin. These sites control the flow of oxygenated blood between small blood vessels within the skin. They can cause blockage of this area of the bridge to allow the skin to radiate heat or open it to keep warm when it is cold.
“The excess of sensory innervation may explain why patients with fibromyalgia tend to have especially sensitive and painful hands. But, in addition, as the sensory fibers are responsible for opening the shunts, they will become particularly active in cold conditions, which are generally very annoying for patients with fibromyalgia, “said Albrecht.
But these bridges or special shunts do much more than regulate the heat in the body; they could be blocking the flow of blood to the deep muscles within the tissue.
“In addition to participating in the regulation of temperature, a large proportion of our blood flow normally goes to our hands and feet. Much more than what is needed for your metabolism, “said Dr. Rice. “As such, the hands and feet act as a reservoir from which blood flow can be diverted to other tissues of the body, such as muscles when we begin to exercise. Therefore, the pathology discovered between these shunts in the hands could be interfering with the flow of blood to the muscles of the whole body. This poorly administered blood flow could be the source of muscle pain and pain, and the feeling of fatigue that is believed to be due to an accumulation of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation in patients with fibromyalgia. This, in turn,
Finding a real physiological basis for the autoimmune disease of fibromyalgia will be a positive revelation for many who have been told that their pain is only in their head. Over time, researchers will be able to further dissect the causes of pain in the disease and can develop pharmaceutical products to address the real cause of pain.