A study conducted at the McGill University Centre for Research on pain has proven the first direct evidence that Fibromyalgia patients have an abnormal dopamine response to pain.
“While brain dopamine is best known for its role in pleasure, motivation and motor control, recent evidence suggests that it is also involved in pain modulation,” write the researchers. “Because dopamine is implicated in both pain modulation and affective processing, we hypothesized that fibromyalgia may involve a disturbance of dopaminergic neurotransmission.”
Study participants included FM patients and a healthy control group. Members of both groups were subjected to deep muscle pain produced by an injection of hypertonic saline into a leg muscle. Positron emission tomography was used to determine the endogenous release of dopamine in response to the painful stimulus. Fibromyalgia patients experienced the hypertonic saline as more painful than the healthy control subjects did.