Image_1_Plasma Protein Pattern Correlates With Pain Intensity and Psychological Distress in Women With Chronic Widespread Pain.pdf

Objectives: Although generalized muscle pain, tiredness, anxiety, and depression are commonly present among chronic widespread pain (CWP) patients, the molecular mechanisms behind CWP are not fully elucidated. Moreover, the lack of biomarkers often makes diagnosis and treatment problematic. In this study, we investigated the correlation between pain intensity, psychological distress, and plasma proteins among CWP patients and controls (CON).

Methods: The plasma proteome of CWP (n = 15) and CON (n = 23) was analyzed using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Orthogonal Partial Least Square analysis (OPLS) was used to determine proteins associated with pain intensity (numeric rating scale) in CWP and psychological distress (Hospital and Depression Scale, HADS) in CWP and CON. Significant proteins were identified by MALDI-TOF and tandem MS.

Results: In CWP, pain intensity was associated with plasma proteins mostly involved in metabolic and immunity processes (e.g., kininogen-1, fibrinogen gamma chain, and ceruloplasmin), and psychological distress was associated with plasma proteins related to immunity response, iron ion, and lipid metabolism (e.g., complement factor B, complement C1r subcomponent, hemopexin, and clusterin).

Discussion: This study suggests that different plasma protein patterns are associated with different pain intensity and psychological distress in CWP. Proteins belonging to the coagulation cascade and immunity processes showed strong associations to each clinical outcome. Using the plasma proteome profile of CWP to study potential biomarker candidates provides a snapshot of ongoing systemic mechanisms in CWP.