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Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a complex chronic condition causing widespread pain and variety of other symptoms. It produces pain in the soft tissues located around joints throughout the body.
FMS has unknown etiology and its pathophysiology is not fully understood. However, abnormality in circadian rhythm of hormonal profiles and cytokines has been observed in this disorder.
Moreover, there are reports of deficiency of serotonin, melatonin, cortisol and cytokines in FMS patients, which are fully regulated by circadian rhythm.
Melatonin, the primary hormone of the pineal gland regulates the body's circadian rhythm and normally its levels begin to rise in the mid-to-late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then decrease in the early morning.
FMS patients have lower melatonin secretion during the hours of darkness than the healthy subjects. This may contribute to impaired sleep at night, fatigue during the day and changed pain perception. Studies have shown blunting of normal diurnal cortisol rhythm, with elevated evening serum cortisol level in patients with FMS.
Thus, due to perturbed level of cortisol secretion several symptoms of FMS may occur. Moreover, disturbed cytokine levels have also been reported in FMS patients. Therefore, circadian rhythm can be an important factor in the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of FMS.
This article explores the circadian pattern of abnormalities in FMS patients, as this may help in better understanding the role of variation in symptoms of FMS and its possible relationship with circadian variations of melatonin, cortisol, cytokines and serotonin levels.
Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2011 Apr;48(2):82-7.
Abnormality of circadian rhythm of serum melatonin and other biochemical parameters in fibromyalgia syndrome.
Mahdi AA1, Fatima G, Das SK, Verma NS.