News and Research: Mitochondrial polymorphism linked to fibromyalgia

Title: A genetic polymorphism that is associated with mitochondrial energy metabolism increases risk of fibromyalgia  July 2002

Journal: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain

This new study looked at both the full nuclear genome and mitochondrial genome for 609 people. The patients in the study had persistent pain conditions (e.g. fibromyalgia, IBS, TMJ, or vulvar vestibulitis).

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of widespread muscle pain. People with fibromyalgia often are fatigued and have sleep or mood issues also.

The researcher found that one SNP in a mitochondrial gene (m.2352) increased the risk of fibromyalgia almost 5-fold. The researchers then replicated the link with this mitochondrial genetic variant and other pain disorders.

The abstract explains the importance of this finding:

Essentially, oxidative phosphorylation is what is going on in the mitochondria to produce most of the ATP that a cell needs. With a decreased membrane potential, the mitochondria will not be as efficient.

Why is this important? The study directly links fibromyalgia to cellular metabolism. Therapies that target boosting the mitochondria may be effective.

This one genetic variant in the mitochondrial DNA is likely not the whole picture for fibromyalgia and other pain disorders, but it does point to a pathway or mechanism of action.




Author Information:   Debbie Moon
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. She holds a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado School of Mines. Debbie is a science communicator who is passionate about explaining evidence-based health information. Her goal with Genetic Lifehacks is to bridge the gap between the research hidden in scientific journals and everyone's ability to use that information. To contact Debbie, visit the contact page.