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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 795784, 12 pages
Research Article

Epigenetic Alterations and an Increased Frequency of Micronuclei in Women with Fibromyalgia

1Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, 1100 East Leigh Street, Richmond, VA 23298-0567, USA
2Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, VA 23298-0037, USA
3Department of Biostatistics, Virginia Commonwealth University, 830 East Main Street, Richmond, VA 23298, USA
4Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980662, Richmond, VA 23298-0662, USA
5Neodiagnostix, 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
6Department of Human and Molecular Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 980033, Richmond, VA 23298-0003, USA

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 14 July 2013

Academic Editor: Susan Dorsey

Copyright © 2013 Victoria Menzies et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Fibromyalgia (FM), characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive/mood disturbances, leads to reduced workplace productivity and increased healthcare expenses. To determine if acquired epigenetic/genetic changes are associated with FM, we compared the frequency of spontaneously occurring micronuclei (MN) and genome-wide methylation patterns in women with FM ( ) to those seen in comparably aged healthy controls ( (MN); (methylation)). The mean (sd) MN frequency of women with FM (51.4 (21.9)) was significantly higher than that of controls (15.8 (8.5)) ( ; df = 1; ). Significant differences ( sites) in methylation patterns were observed between cases and controls considering a 5% false discovery rate. The majority of differentially methylated (DM) sites (91%) were attributable to increased values in the women with FM. The DM sites included significant biological clusters involved in neuron differentiation/nervous system development, skeletal/organ system development, and chromatin compaction. Genes associated with DM sites whose function has particular relevance to FM included BDNF, NAT15, HDAC4, PRKCA, RTN1, and PRKG1. Results support the need for future research to further examine the potential role of epigenetic and acquired chromosomal alterations as a possible biological mechanism underlying FM.