Metabolomics analysis of plasma samples of patients with fibromyalgia and electromagnetic sensitivity using GC–MS technique

January 7, 2023

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic and systemic condition that causes widespread chronic pain, asthenia, and muscle stiffness, as well as in some cases depression, anxiety, and disorders of the autonomic system. The exact causes that lead to the development of FM are still unknown today.

In a percentage of individuals, the symptoms of FM are often triggered and/or exacerbated by proximity to electrical and electromagnetic devices. Plasma metabolomic profile of 54 patients with fibromyalgia and self-reported electromagnetic sensitivity (IEI-EMF) were compared to 23 healthy subjects using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) coupled with multivariate statistical analysis techniques. Before the GC–MS analysis the plasma samples were extracted with a modified Folch method and then derivatized with methoxamine hydrochloride in pyridine solution and N-trimethylsilyltrifuoroacetamide.

The combined analysis allowed to identify a metabolomic profile able of distinguishing IEI-EMF patients and healthy subjects. IEI-EMF patients were therefore characterized by the alteration of 19 metabolites involved in different metabolic pathways such as energy metabolism, muscle, and pathways related to oxidative stress defense and chronic pain. The results obtained in this study complete the metabolomic “picture” previously investigated on the same cohort of IEI-EMF patients with 1H-NMR spectroscopy, placing a further piece for better understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms in patients with IEI-EMF.

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