T cell subpopulations in the physiopathology of fibromyalgia: Evidence and perspectives

Giuseppe Banfi, Marco Diani, Paolo D. Pigatto, Eva Reali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Fibromyalgia is one of the most important “rheumatic” disorders, after osteoarthritis. The etiology of the disease is still not clear. At the moment, the most defined pathological mechanism is the alteration of central pain pathways, and emotional conditions can trigger or worsen symptoms. Increasing evidence supports the role of mast cells in maintaining pain conditions such as musculoskeletal pain and central sensitization. Importantly, mast cells can mediate microglia activation through the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNFɑ. In addition, levels of chemokines and proinflammatory cytokines are enhanced in serum and could contribute to inflammation at systemic level. Despite the well-characterized relationship between the nervous system and inflammation, the mechanism that links the different pathological features of fibromyalgia, including stress-related manifestations, central sensitization, and dysregulation of the innate and adaptive immune responses is largely unknown. This review aims to provide an overview of the current understanding of the role of adaptive immune cells, in particular T cells, in the physiopathology of fibromyalgia. It also aims at linking the latest advances emerging from basic science to envisage new perspectives to explain the role of T cells in interconnecting the psychological, neurological, and inflammatory symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1186
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2 2020


  • Environmental sensitivity illnesses
  • Immune responses
  • Inflammation
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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