Serum amino acids in fibrositis/fibromyalgia syndrome

I. J. Russell, J. E. Michalek, G. A. Vipraio, E. M. Fletcher, K. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Free plasma tryptophan levels in patients with fibrositis syndrome were measured by Moldofsky and Warsh with the view that the pathogenesis of fibrositis syndrome might involve a functional deficiency of serotonin. The hypothesis was supported by the finding of an inverse relationship between tryptophan concentration and the severity of musculoskeletal pain. Our study examined the total serum amino acid pool in fibrositis syndrome. Twenty patients with primary fibrositis syndrome and matched normal controls were evaluated clinically. After denaturation of macromolecules, serum amino acids were quantitated by automated analysis. Patients with fibrositis syndrome exhibited significantly lower levels of total serum tryptophan (p = 0.002), as well as 6 other amino acids: alanine (p < 0.0005), histidine (p = 0.001), lysine (p = 0.02), proline (p = 0.039), serine (p = 0.028), and threonine (p = 0.013). These findings support the serotonin deficiency hypothesis for fibrositis syndrome pathogenesis but also imply a more generalized defect in amino acid homeostasis among affected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue numberSUPPL. 19
StatePublished - Dec 1 1989


  • amino acids
  • fibromyalgia
  • fibrositis
  • serotonin
  • tryptophan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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