Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex chronic pain condition. Its symptoms are nonspecific, and to date, no objective test exists to confirm FM diagnosis. Potential objective measures include the circulating levels of blood biomarkers. This systematic review and meta-analysis aim to review studies assessing blood biomarkers’ levels in patients with FM compared with healthy controls. We systematically searched the PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO databases. Fifty-four studies reporting the levels of biomarkers in blood in patients with FM were included. Data were extracted, and the methodological quality was assessed independently by 2 authors. The methodological quality of 9 studies (17%) was low. The results of most studies were not directly comparable given differences in methods and investigated target immune mediators. Thus, data from 40 studies only were meta-analyzed using a random-effects model. The meta-analysis showed that patients with FM had significantly lower levels of interleukin-1 β and higher levels of IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interferon gamma, C-reactive protein, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor compared with healthy controls. Nevertheless, this systematic literature review and meta-analysis could not support the notion that these blood biomarkers are specific biomarkers of FM. Our literature review, however, revealed that these same individual biomarkers may have the potential role of identifying underlying pathologies or other conditions that often coexist with FM. Future research is needed to evaluate the potential clinical value for these biomarkers while controlling for the various confounding variables.
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