Opioid Receptors on Immune Cells May Be Fibromyalgia Biomarkers, Study Says

Opioid Receptors on Immune Cells May Be Fibromyalgia Biomarkers, Study Says
Opioid receptors found on the surface of immune cells may be useful biomarkers to diagnose people with fibromyalgia, a study found. The study, “Identification of MOR-Positive B Cell as Possible Innovative Biomarker (Mu Lympho-Marker) for Chronic Pain Diagnosis in Patients with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis Diseases,” was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose, as symptoms can be nonspecific and overlap with other medical conditions.  The identification of specific biomarkers to diagnose fibromyalgia and assess its severity and progression can help support the development of new, effective therapies.   Researchers have investigated the connection between immune cells and neurons that share common opioid receptors called Mu (MOR/Oprm1), delta (DOR/Oprd1), and kappa (KOR/Oprk1). While these receptors are known to play key roles in pain perception, little is known about their function on circulating immune cells during the development of a chronic pain disease. Scientists in Italy set out to investigate whether the Mu opioid receptor found on the surface of immune cells could be used as a biomarker for fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, a chronic pain condition caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and bone. They also looked at whether levels of Mu receptors could be influenced by psychological aspects relevant to chronic pain disorders, particularly fibromyalgia. All patients enrolled in the study (ISRCTN24645566) were women, with an average age of 51. Fifty-nine had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, 19 with osteoarthritis, and 24 were healthy, pain-free controls. Pain intensity assessed using an 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS) revealed that nearly 85% of women w
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