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Abstract

Twenty-nine female patients with fibromyalgia were questioned about symptoms of cold intolerance and Raynaud's syndrome; objective documentation of cold-induced vasospasm was obtained by a Nielsen test. Twelve patients (41%) had abnormal Nielsen test results, and 11 patients (38%) had elevated levels of platelet α2-adrenergic receptors. There was a positive correlation between the percentage of change in finger systolic pressure on cooling (Nielsen test) and the number of α2-adrenergic receptors. There was poor correlation between Raynaud's syndrome symptoms and an abnormal Nielsen test result. Digital photoplethysmography showed a normal waveform in 2 of 3 patients. We hypothesize that a subgroup of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome have an up-regulation of α2-adrenergic receptors as a cause of their exaggerated reaction to cold.