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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Nov 2019 - 8 Nov 2019


Human Studies

2019 Oct 30

Sci Rep



Effects of attachment-based compassion therapy (ABCT) on brain-derived neurotrophic factor and low-grade inflammation among fibromyalgia patients: A randomized controlled trial.


Montero-Marin J, Andrés-Rodríguez L, Tops M, Luciano JV, Navarro-Gil M, Feliu-Soler A, López-Del-Hoyo Y, Garcia-Campayo J
Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 30; 9(1):15639.
PMID: 31666651.


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disabling syndrome characterized by chronic pain associated with fatigue. Its pathogenesis is unknown, but alterations in central sensitization, involving an imbalance of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and inflammatory biomarkers, appear to be implicated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of attachment-based compassion therapy (ABCT) on levels of BDNF, the inflammatory markers TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, and the C-reactive protein (CRP), analysing whether biomarkers play a mediating/moderating role in improvements in FM functional status. Thirty-four female patients with FM participated in a RCT and were assigned to ABCT or relaxation therapy. Blood extractions were conducted at baseline and post-intervention, with self-report assessments of functional status (FIQ) at baseline, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. A pro-inflammatory composite was obtained by summing up IL-6, TNF-α and CRP normalized values. Non-parametric tests, analysis of variance and regression models were used to evaluate treatment and mediation/moderation. Compared to relaxation therapy, ABCT showed significant improvements in FIQ and decreases in BDNF, CRP, and pro-inflammatory composite. Changes in BDNF had a mediating role in FIQ. ABCT seems to reduce BDNF and appears to have anti-inflammatory effects in FM patients. Reductions in BDNF could be a mechanism of FM functional status improvement.Clinical Trial Registration: http://ClinicalTrials.gov , identifier NCT02454244. Date: May 27th, 2015.