Background Although recent imaging studies of fibromyalgia (FM) have converged on a dysfunction of central pain processing as a primary pathophysiology of the disorder, microstructural alteration suggestive of abnormal synaptic transmission or functional activation has not been extensively examined.
Objectives We aimed to investigate white matter integrity and its possible relationship with pain symptoms in female subjects with FM.
Methods Nineteen FM patients and age-, and gender-, and education-matched 21 healthy controls (HCs) were included and underwent diffusion-weighted imaging. Group difference in white matter integrity, assessed via fractional anisotropy (FA), was investigated by applying tract-based spatial statistics.
Results FM group showed a single cluster with lower FA in the left body of corpus callosum, which was found to be connected with the bilateral sensorimotor cortices, compared with HCs corrected for multiple comparisons (P<0.05). Furthermore, FA values in the resulting cluster were negatively associated with sensory pain as measured by the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, and also with relative magnitude of sensory pain vs. affective pain (calculated by sensory score/affective score).
Conclusions In summary, the current study demonstrated that patients with FM had disrupted white matter microstructure in the body of corpus callosum associated with clinical pain intensity. Our results suggest that abnormal interhemispheric transfer might contribute to heightened pain perception and further strengthen the hypothesis of centrally augmented pain processing in FM.
Disclosure of Interest : None declared
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