The bed nucleus of the stria terminalis as a brain correlate of psychological inflexibility in fibromyalgia

Albert Feliu-Soler, Ignacio Martínez-Zalacaín, Adrián Pérez-Aranda*, Xavier Borràs, Laura Andrés-Rodríguez, Juan P. Sanabria-Mazo, Nicolás Fayed, Christian Stephan-Otto, Christian Núñez, Carles Soriano-Mas, Juan V. Luciano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study explored the brain structural correlates of psychological flexibility (PF) as measured with the Psychological Inflexibility in Pain Scale (PIPS) in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Structural magnetic resonance imaging data from 47 FM patients were used to identify Gray Matter Volume (GMV) alterations related to PIPS scores. Brain GMV clusters related to PIPS were then correlated with clinical and cognitive variables to further explore how emerged brain clusters were intertwined with FM symptomatology. Longitudinal changes in PIPS-related brain clusters values were assessed by studying pre–post data from 30 patients (15 allocated to a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and 15 to treatment-as-usual). Changes in PIPS-related brain clusters were also explored in participants showing greater/lower longitudinal changes in PIPS scores. PIPS scores were positively associated with GMV in a bilateral cluster in the ventral part of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Significant associations between BNST cluster with functional impairment, depressive symptomatology, perceived stress and the nonjudging mindfulness facet were observed. Participants reporting greater pre–post increases in PIPS scores showed greater increases in BNST cluster values. These findings contribute to the understanding on the neurobiological bases of PF in FM and encourage further explorations of the role of the BNST in chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number374
JournalJournal of clinical medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Mindfulness
  • Neuroimaging
  • Psychological inflexibility


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