Fibromyalgia (FM) is a musculoskeletal chronic pain syndrome that impacts negatively patient’s daily lives. Its pathogenesis is characterized by a complex relationship between biological and psychosocial factors not fully understood yet. Pain catastrophizing is associated with FM and is an important predictor of outcomes. This study aimed to answer two questions: (i) whether the allele and genotype frequencies of BDNF Val66Met (rs6265) polymorphism differs between FM patients and healthy controls (HC); and (ii) if the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism is a factor that predicts pain catastrophizing in FM.
In a cross-sectional design, 108 FM patients and 108 HC were included. FM patients responded to the Brazilian Portuguese version of the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (BP-PCS) to assess pain catastrophizing, as well as other validated tools for anxiety (The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory – STAI), depression (Beck Depression Inventory II – BDI-II) and functional aspects (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire – FIQ; Central Sensitization Inventory validated and adapted for Brazilian population – CSI-BP; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index – PSQI; and Resilience Scale). All subjects were genotyped for the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism.
Val allele was significantly more frequent in FM patients compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Also, FM patients with Val/Val genotype showed more pain catastrophizing thoughts, and this genotype was significantly associated with magnification and rumination dimensions of BP-PCS (p < 0.05). Furthermore, there were significant differences in levels of anxiety and symptoms of depression, years of education, and the functional situation between the FM and control groups.
The findings show an association of BDNF Val66Met polymorphism with pain catastrophizing in FM, which opens new avenues to comprehend the interplay between molecular genetic characteristics and neuroplasticity mechanisms underpinning FM.