Researchers identify gene associated with susceptibility to chronic pain caused by nerve injury
April 20, 2016
To further test the potential role for Cacgn2 in chronic pain, the authors utilized a mouse strain harboring a mutant version of the gene that had previously been used in epilepsy research. In testing the mice for behavioral and electrophysiological characteristics of chronic pain, they found that, the observations were consistent with a functional role for Cacgn2 in pain, even though it might be modest.
However, the question still remained as to whether the human version of the gene also is important for chronic pain. Analyzing a cohort of breast cancer patients who experienced chronic pain half a year or more after they that had undergone removal or partial removal of a breast, they found that genetic variants of Cacng2 were significantly associated with this chronic pain. The authors cautioned that although this association will need to be analyzed further, the result is encouraging at pointing to this gene as a significant factor in experiencing pain.
"The immediate significance is the mere awareness that differences in pain perception may have a genetic predisposition," Darvasi explained. "Our discovery may provide insights for treating chronic pain through previously unthought-of mechanisms."
Source: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem