Genetics And Pain Sensitivity

Table 4.2 Examples of measurements used in pain research.

Class

Organism

Methods

Pros

Cons

In vivo

Human

Animal model

Other models

In vitro

Physiological measurement

Self-report instruments

Physiological measurement

human, animal, other)

Drosophila melanogaster (fruitfly) genetic studies

Cell culture

In silico

Data mining

Understanding interindividual differences in response to pain in humans is the goal of the field

Use of inbred strains of animals for genetic studies is a proven tool in the dissection of genetic traits

Use of D. melanogaster for genetic studies is a proven tool in the dissection of genetic traits

Permits exquisite control of the cellular environment and manipulation of exposures to test hypotheses

Relatively inexpensive to mine databases for DNA, RNA, protein, and interaction data

Physiological measures of pain still require a verbal response, introducing an unknown level of imprecision Self-report measures are subjective in nature, introducing an unknown level of imprecision The study of the genetics of pain in animal models may be difficult to translate to human pain biology

The study of the genetics of pain in D. melanogaster may be difficult to translate to human pain biology

May provide limited insight into the dynamic physiologic environment in vivo Some tissue models cannot be emulated in vitro (e.g. complex interactions between cell types)

Requires an understanding of bioinformatics be useful to investigate the genetic basis for chronic pain problems that appear to occur in family members (e.g.

chronic low back pain,38, 39 fibromyalgia40).

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