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Biology and therapy of fibromyalgia. Stress, the stress response system, and fibromyalgia

Manuel Martinez-Lavin

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Cardiology, Juan Badiano 1, 14080 Mexico City, Mexico

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:216  doi:10.1186/ar2146

See related editorial by Eisinger,, related letter by Fèlix and Fontenele,, related letter by Martinez and Cassol,, and related response by Eisinger,

Published: 6 July 2007


Stress is a state of disharmony, or threatened homeostasis. A stressor could have a psychological origin or a biological origin. Societies have become more intricate with industrialization, and modern individuals try to adapt to the new defiance by forcing their stress response system. The main component of the stress response network is the autonomic nervous system. The present article reviews current knowledge on autonomic dysfunction in fibromyalgia. Sympathetic hyperactivity has been consistently described by diverse groups of investigators. Fibromyalgia is proposed to be a sympathetically maintained neuropathic pain syndrome, and genomic data support this contention. Autonomic dysfunction may also explain other fibromyalgia features not related to pain.