Emerson Krock

Assistant Professor, Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences

B.Sc., McGill University

Ph.D., McGill University

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, whole-body pain disorder. Despite having a clinical diagnosis for decades, the underlying causes remain poorly understood. During a postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Krock and colleagues found that IgG antibodies from fibromyalgia patients cause mice to develop signs of pain, but antibodies from pain-free people do not. The fibromyalgia antibodies bind to satellite glia cells, which surround pain-sensing neurons, and the levels of these antibodies are higher in fibromyalgia patients with more pain. These results suggest a subset of fibromyalgia pain could be mediated by autoantibodies—that is, antibodies attacking parts of our own body. However, why these autoantibodies develop remains unclear. The Krock lab at McGill University is investigating how fibromyalgia autoantibodies develop. One possibility is that altered gut bacteria stimulate an antibody-generating immune response, and if these antibodies recognize molecules similar enough to molecules found on satellite glia, then an autoantibody response could occur.