Symptoms of Raynaud's syndrome in patients with fibromyalgia. A study utilizing the Nielsen test, digital photoplethysmography, and measurements of platelet α2‐adrenergic receptors

Robert M. Bennett, Sharon R. Clark, Stephen M. Campbell, Shirley B. Ingram, Carol S. Burckhardt, Donna L. Nelson, John M. Porter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    70 Scopus citations


    Twenty‐nine female patients with fibromyalgia were questioned about symptoms of cold intolerance and Raynaud's syndrome; objective documentation of cold‐induced vasospasm was obtained by a Nielsen test. Twelve patients (41%) had abnormal Nielsen test results, and 11 patients (38%) had elevated levels of platelet α2‐adrenergic receptors. There was a positive correlation between the percentage of change in finger systolic pressure on cooling (Nielsen test) and the number of α2‐adrenergic receptors. There was poor correlation between Raynaud's syndrome symptoms and an abnormal Nielsen test result. Digital photoplethysmography showed a normal waveform in 2 of 3 patients. We hypothesize that a subgroup of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome have an up‐regulation of α2‐adrenergic receptors as a cause of their exaggerated reaction to cold.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)264-269
    Number of pages6
    JournalArthritis & Rheumatism
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 1991


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology and Allergy
    • Rheumatology
    • Immunology
    • Pharmacology (medical)

    Cite this