New Chronic Pain Gene Identified – Beta2-Adrenergic receptor (ADRB2) – and Genes For Achilles and ACL Knee Ligament Problems

Using a British Cohort born in March 1958, over 8000 individuals were blood sampled and nucleotide polymorphism sequenced for ADRB2 and COMT (Catecholamine-O-methyltransferase), the latter previously implicated in pain genetics. Only ADRB2 of certain gene types were associated with increased widepread pain (by 1.39-1.83 the OR risk) and by increased pain extent (by 1.24-1.58 the OR risk)

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——————Pain. 2010 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]
Genetic variation in the beta2-adrenergic receptor but not catecholamine-O-methyltransferase predisposes to chronic pain: Results from the 1958 British Birth Cohort Study.
Hocking LJ, Smith BH, Jones GT, Reid DM, Strachan DP, Macfarlane GJ. abstract here

CWP = chronic widespread pain (in Britain they do not use the term Fibromyalgia to cover some of CWP)

Pain Status – Extent of pain from no pain, to regional pain, to widespread pain

  • To control for confounding variables, subjects were split into tertiles of high, medium and low psychological distress, and body mass BMI subgroups.

Comments – Their stats:

  • 1/10 have chronic widespread pain
  • “twofold increased risk of having Fibromyagia(FMS) among first-degree relatives of persons with FMS”
  • “Twin studies suggest that around 50% of the variance in CWP occurrence is due to genetic factors”
  • “Similar for low back pain “
  • “Perception of pain and sensitivity to painful stimuli are also highly heritable”

For years, there have had mouse strains that vary tremondously in their sensitivity to pain. I have seen pain problems run through families and have been waiting for clearer evidence of this effect. My suspicion is that victims with genes for mood disorder are doubly cursed and represent the thin skull group highly susceptible to chronic pain – bipolar even more so.

Addendum:

There are some recent studies also showing association of soft tissue injuries with certain genes:

3 Collins M, Posthumus M, Schwellnus MP. The COL1A1 gene and acute soft
tissue ruptures. Br J Sports Med. In Press. abstract
4 Posthumus M, September AV, O’Cuinneagain D, van der Merwe W,
Schwellnus MP, Collins M. The COL5A1 gene is associated with increased
risk of anterior cruciate ligmant rupture in females. Am J Sports Med. In
Press. abstract
5 September AV, Cook J, Handley CJ, van der Merwe L, Schwellnus MP,
Collins M. Variants within the COL5A1 gene are associated with Achilles
tendinopathy in two populations. Br J Sports Med 2009: 43:357-365. abstract
6 September AV, Schwellnus MP, Collins M. Tendon and ligament injuries:
the genetic component. Br J Sports Med 2007: 41(4):241-246. abstract
7 Raleigh SM, Van der ML, Ribbans WJ, Smith RK, Schwellnus MP, Collins
M. Variants within the MMP3 gene are associated with Achilles
tendinopathy: Possible interaction with the COL5A1 gene. Br J Sports Med.
In Press. abstract
8 September AV, Posthumus M, Van der ML, Schwellnus M, Noakes TD,
Collins M. The COL12A1 and COL14A1 genes and Achilles tendon injuries.
Int J Sports Med 2008: 29(3):257-263. abstract
9 Posthumus M, September AV, O’Cuinneagain D, van der MW, Schwellnus
MP, Collins M. The association between the COL12A1 gene and anterior
cruciate ligament ruptures. Br J Sports Med. In Press. abstract
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