Depression is often a side effect of Fibromyalgia, but unlike some may have thought, Fibromyalgia is not caused by depression. For those of us with Fibromyalgia this is a bit of a “duh! Really” moment. You’d be depressed too if you were constantly in pain and couldn’t do the things you wanted to do.
A 2010 study measured the Brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) of patients with fibromyalgia. BDNF is a key protein in the growth and maintenance of several neuron systems, and acts as a modulator of neuron excitability.
BDNF also plays a role in the mediation of pain in the nervous system, acting as a neuromediator for enhanced pain response and spinal central sensitization.
BDNF is generally low in patients with depression, and anti-depressants increase levels of BDNF.
However, studies have found increased levels of BDNF is patients with fibromyalgia.
This study compared the levels of BDNF found in the brain serum of those with Fibromyalgia to that found in healthy individuals.
These results were consistent regardless of whether patient was taking anti-depressants.
This is hopefully one step in the right direction towards finding a way to diagnose Fibromyalgia.
Haas, L., Portela, L. V., Böhmer, A. E., Oses, J. P., & Lara, D. R. (2010). Increased plasma levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in patients with fibromyalgia. Neurochemical research, 35(5), 830-834.