Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor and somatostatin levels in cerebrospinal fluid of patients affected by chronic migraine and fibromyalgia


Paola Sarchielli, Neurologic Clinic, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties and Public Health, Silvestrini Hospital, S. Andrea delle Fratte, 06156 Perugia, Italy. Tel. + 39 075 578 3609/4228, fax + 39 075 578 3870/4229, e-mail; Received 15 February 2004, accepted 27 June 2005


The aim of the present study was to verify cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and somatostatin, both measured by sensitive immunoassay, in: 16 chronic migraine (CM) patients, 15 patients with an antecedent history of migraine without aura diagnosed as having probable chronic migraine (PCM) and probable analgesic-abuse headache (PAAH), 20 patients affected by primary fibromyalgia syndrome (PFMS), and 20 control subjects. Significantly lower levels of GDNF and somatostatin were found in the CSF of both CM and PCM + PAAH patients compared with controls (GDNF =P < 0.001, P < 0.002; somatostatin = P < 0.002, P < 0.0003), without significant difference between the two groups. PFMS patients, with and without analgesic abuse, also had significantly lower levels of both somatostatin and GDNF (P < 0.0002, P < 0.001), which did not differ from those of CM and PCM + PAAH patients. A significant positive correlation emerged between CSF values of GDNF and those of somatostatin in CM (r = 0.70, P < 0.02), PCM + PAAH (r = 0.78, P < 0.004), and PFMS patients (r = 0.68, P < 0.008). Based on experimental findings, it can be postulated that reduced CSF levels of GDNF and somatostatin in both CM and PCM + PAAH patients can contribute to sustained central sensitization underlying chronic head pain. The abuse of simple or combination analgesics does not seem to influence the biochemical changes investigated, which appear to be more strictly related to the chronic pain state, as demonstrated also for fibromyalgia.