Genetics and epigenetics of pain

Franziska Denk*, Stephen B. Mcmahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter reviews the current literature on genetic and epigenetic mechanisms and their potential role in the development and/or maintenance of chronic pain conditions. First, different sources of genetic variation are discussed, as well as the tools available for their study and the most notable findings that have so far emerged in the pain research community. These include identification of human genetic variation in known candidate genes and, more recently, in novel targets identified via genome-wide screening. Secondly, higher level and possibly more stable alterations in gene function are described, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications. Such epigenetic mechanisms are starting to generate research interest, studies indicating that they may be implicated in relevant chronic pain models and may contribute to some differences observed in interindividual risk for painful disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAn Introduction to Pain and Nervous System Disorders
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781118455968
ISBN (Print)9781118455913
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2016


  • Chronic pain
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetics
  • Genetics
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Histone modifications
  • Linkage analysis
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)


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