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Higher serum S100B and BDNF levels are correlated with a lower pressure-pain threshold in fibromyalgia

Simone Azevedo Zanette1234, Jairo Alberto Dussan-Sarria234, Andressa Souza2345, Alicia Deitos23, Iraci Lucena Silva Torres236 and Wolnei Caumo2346*

  • * Corresponding author: Wolnei Caumo

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil

2 Post Graduate Program in Medical Sciences, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil

3 Laboratory of Pain & Neuromodulation, HCPA/UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil

4 Pain and Palliative Care Service at HCPA/UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil

5 Universitary Center Unilasalle, Canoas, Brazil

6 Pharmacology Department, Instituto de Ciências Básicas da Saúde, UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brazil

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Molecular Pain 2014, 10:46  doi:10.1186/1744-8069-10-46

Published: 8 July 2014



Fibromyalgia (FM) is conceptualized as a central sensitization (CS) condition, that presents high serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neuroglia activation. Although the S100B protein regulates neuroglia functions, it has been traditionally used as a proxy of central nervous system damage. However, neither BDNF nor S100B association with the clinical picture of FM has been elucidated. To explore their association with the pressure-pain threshold (PPT) in FM, we performed a cross-sectional study, including 56 females with confirmed FM aged 18–65 years. Linear regression models were used to adjust for potential confounding factors between serum BDNF, S100B and PPT.


Serum BDNF and S100B were correlated (Spearman’s Rho = 0.29). Serum BDNF (log) and S100B (log) were correlated with the PPT (log) (Partial η2 = 0.129, P = 0.012 for the BDNF (log), and Partial η2 = 0.105, P = 0.025 for the S100B (log)). Serum BDNF (log) was inversely associated with PPT (log) (β = -1.01, SE = 0.41), age (β = -0.02, SE = 0.15) and obsessive compulsive disorder (β = -0.36, SE = 0.15), while serum S100B (log) was inversely associated with PPT (log) (β = -1.38, SE = 0.50), only.


Both neuroglia key mediators in the CS process were inversely correlated with the PPT. Serum assessment of BDNF and S100B deserve further study to determine its potential as a proxy for the CS spectrum in FM.

Fibromyalgia; S100B; BDNF; Pain-pressure threshold; Central sensitization