Genetic predictors for acute experimental cold and heat pain sensitivity in humans

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Abstract

Background:

The genetic contribution to pain sensitivity underlies a complex composite of parallel pain pathways, multiple mechanisms, and diverse inter-individual pain experiences and expectations.

Methods:

Variations for genes encoding receptors related to cold and heat sensation, such as transient receptor potential A subtype 1 (TRPA1), M subtype 8 (TRPM8), V subtype 1 (TRPV1), δ opioid receptor subtype 1 (OPRD1), catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT), and fatty acid amide hydrolyase (FAAH), were investigated in four major ethnic populations.

Results:

We defined 13 haplotype blocks in European Americans, seven blocks in African Americans, seven blocks in Hispanic subjects, and 11 blocks in Asian Americans. Further study in European American subjects found significant associations between short duration cold pain sensitivity and variations in TRPA1, COMT, and FAAH in a gender dependent manner. Our observations demonstrate that genetic variations in TRPA1, COMT, and FAAH contribute gender specifically to individual variations in short duration cold pain sensitivity in a European American cohort.

Conclusions:

The effects of TRPA1 variations on experimental short duration heat pain sensitivity may contribute to inter-individual variation in pain sensitivity in humans.

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