The mu opioid receptor A118G gene polymorphism moderates effects of trait anger-out on acute pain sensitivity.

Bruehl S, Chung OY, Burns JW
Pain. 2008 139 (2): 406-415

PMID: 18579306 · PMCID: PMC2614266 · DOI:10.1016/j.pain.2008.05.014

Both trait anger-in (managing anger through suppression) and anger-out (managing anger through direct expression) are related to pain responsiveness, but only anger-out effects involve opioid mechanisms. Preliminary work suggested that the effects of anger-out on postoperative analgesic requirements were moderated by the A118G single nucleotide polymorphism of the mu opioid receptor gene. This study further explored these potential genotypexphenotype interactions as they impact acute pain sensitivity. Genetic samples and measures of anger-in and anger-out were obtained in 87 subjects (from three studies) who participated in controlled laboratory acute pain tasks (ischemic, finger pressure, thermal). McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) Sensory and Affective ratings for each pain task were standardized within studies, aggregated across pain tasks, and combined for analyses. Significant anger-outxA118G interactions were observed (p's<.05). Simple effects tests for both pain measures revealed that whereas anger-out was nonsignificantly hyperalgesic in subjects homozygous for the wild-type allele, anger-out was significantly hypoalgesic in those with the variant G allele (p's<.05). For the MPQ-Affective measure, this interaction arose both from low pain sensitivity in high anger-out subjects with the G allele and heightened pain sensitivity in low anger-out subjects with the G allele relative to responses in homozygous wild-type subjects. No genetic moderation was observed for anger-in, although significant main effects on MPQ-Affective ratings were noted (p<.005). Anger-in main effects were due to overlap with negative affect, but anger-outxA118G interactions were not, suggesting unique effects of expressive anger regulation. Results support opioid-related genotypexphenotype interactions involving trait anger-out.

MeSH Terms (11)

Adult Anger Female Humans Inhibition, Psychological Male Pain Pain Measurement Pain Threshold Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide Receptors, Opioid, mu

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