Increased concentrations of nerve growth factor in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with fibromyalgia

Susan Liew Giovengo, I. Jon Russell, Alice A. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine whether there is a difference in the concentration of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients diagnosed with primary fibromyalgia syndrome (FM), fibromyalgia associated with other secondary conditions (SFM), patients with other painful conditions but lacking fibromyalgia (OTHER), and healthy controls. Methods. The clinical measures of pain threshold included the tender point index, a measure of pain threshold intensity measured by digital pressure, and the average pain threshold measured by dolorimetry. Concentrations of NGF in the CSF were measured using a 2 site enzyme immunoassay. Results. The mean (± SEM) concentration of NGF measured in patients with FM was significantly increased (41.8 ± 12.7 pg/ml) compared to controls (9.1 ± 4.1 pg/ml), but with large variability. Concentrations of NGF in SFM (8.9 ± 4.4 pg/ml) and OTHER (16.2 ± 8.4 pg/ml) were not elevated compared to controls. Conclusion. The findings of increased concentrations of NGF in patients with FM suggest a central mechanism, involving abnormalities in neuropeptides such as NGF, may be a factor in the pathogenesis of FM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1564-1569
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Enzyme immunoassay
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve growth factor

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