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Plasma Cytokine Levels in Fibromyalgia and Their Response to 15 Weeks of Progressive Resistance Exercise or Relaxation Therapy.

Journal article
Authors M Ernberg
N Christidis
B Ghafouri
I Bileviciute-Ljungar
M Löfgren
Jan Bjersing
Annie Palstam
Anette Larsson
Kaisa Mannerkorpi
B Gerdle
E Kosek
Published in Mediators of inflammation
Volume 2018
Pages 3985154
ISSN 1466-1861
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Pages 3985154
Language en
Keywords Adult, Cytokines, blood, Exercise, physiology, Female, Fibromyalgia, blood, immunology, therapy, Humans, Inflammation, blood, immunology, therapy, Interleukin-17, blood, Interleukin-1beta, blood, Interleukin-2, blood, Interleukin-4, blood, Interleukin-6, blood, Interleukin-8, blood, Middle Aged, Relaxation Therapy, methods, Resistance Training, methods, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, blood
Subject categories Rheumatology and Autoimmunity


The aims of this study were to compare circulating cytokines between FM and healthy controls and to investigate the effect on cytokine levels by 15 weeks of progressive resistance exercise or relaxation therapy in FM. Baseline plasma cytokine levels and clinical data were analyzed in 125 women with FM and 130 age-matched healthy women. The FM women were then randomized to progressive resistance exercise (n = 49) or relaxation (n = 43). Baseline IL-2, IL-6, TNF-α, IP-10, and eotaxin were higher in FM than in healthy controls (P < 0.041), whereas IL-1β was lower (P < 0.001). There were weak correlations between cytokine levels and clinical variables. After both interventions, IL-1ra had increased (P = 0.004), while IL-1β had increased in the relaxation group (P = 0.002). Changes of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-17A were weakly correlated with changes of PPT, but there were no significant correlations between changes of cytokine and changes in other clinical variables. The elevated plasma levels of several cytokines supports the hypothesis that chronic systemic inflammation may underlie the pathophysiology of FM even if the relation to clinical variables was weak. However, 15 weeks of resistance exercise, as performed in this study, did not show any anti-inflammatory effect on neither FM symptoms nor clinical and functional variables. This trial is registered with NCT01226784, registered October 21, 2010. The first patient was recruited October 28, 2010.

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