Although fibromyalgia is a common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain, its aetiology and pathophysiology are uncertain. It has recently been suggested that fibromyalgia symptomatology represents a T lymphocyte-mediated immune response to pathogens which are known risk factors for autoimmune diseases. One major suggested candidate pathogen is the bacterial genus Borrelia. However, to date this hypothesis has not been tested.
The aim was to carry out the first test of this hypothesis by comparing Borrelia-specific T lymphocyte reactivity in fibromyalgia patients and matched controls.
The enzyme-linked immunospot was used to detect T-lymphocyte reactivity to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (full antigen); outer surface protein (Osp) A from Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii; native OspC plus decorin binding protein A recombinant; and lymphocyte function antigen-1 (shared epitope) in 27 patients who fulfilled the revised diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia of the American College of Rheumatology and in 26 control subjects. The assays were carried out blind to group status.
The two groups did not differ by age, sex or ethnicity. They did not differ significantly in respect of T lymphocyte reactivity to Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto (full antigen) (p = 0.847), Osp mix (p = 0.709) or lymphocyte function antigen-1 (p = 0.367).
This novel controlled study provides no evidence of an association between fibromyalgia and Borrelia-specific T lymphocytes.

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