Maria Carla Gerra, Davide Carnevali, Inge Søkilde Pedersen, Claudia Donnini, Matteo Manfredini, Alberto González-Villar, Yolanda Triñanes, Marina Pidal-Miranda, Lars Arendt-Nielsen, Maria Teresa Carrillo-de-la-Peña
December 10, 2020
Objectives The present pilot study aims to investigate DNA methylation changes of genes related to fibromyalgia (FM) development and its main comorbid symptoms, including sleep impairment, inflammation, depression and other psychiatric disorders. Epigenetic modifications might trigger or perpetuate complex interplay between pain transduction/transmission, central pain processing and experienced stressors in vulnerable individuals. Methods We conducted DNA methylation analysis by targeted bisulfite NGS sequencing testing differential methylation in 112 genomic regions from leukocytes of eight women with FM and their eight healthy sisters as controls. Results Tests for differentially methylated regions and cytosines brought focus on the GRM2 gene, encoding the metabotropic glutamate receptor2. The slightly increased DNA methylation observed in the GRM2 region of FM patients may confirm the involvement of the glutamate pathway in this pathological condition. Logistic regression highlighted the simultaneous association of methylation levels of depression and inflammation-related genes with FM. Conclusions Altogether, the results evidence the glutamate pathway involvement in FM and support the idea that a combination of methylated and unmethylated genes could represent a risk factor to FM or its consequence, more than single genes. Further studies on the identified biomarkers could contribute to unravel the causative underlying FM mechanisms, giving reliable directions to research, improving the diagnosis and effective therapies.