Sex- and age-specific genetic analysis of chronic back pain.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Sex differences for chronic back pain (cBP) have been reported, with females usually exhibiting greater morbidity, severity, and poorer response to treatment. Genetic factors acting in an age-specific manner have been implicated but never comprehensively explored. We performed sex- and age-stratified genome-wide association study and single nucleotide polymorphism-by-sex interaction analysis for cBP defined as "Back pain for 3+ months" in 202,077 males and 237,754 females of European ancestry from UK Biobank. Two and 7 nonoverlapping genome-wide significant loci were identified for males and females, respectively. A male-specific locus on chromosome 10 near SPOCK2 gene was replicated in 4 independent cohorts. Four loci demonstrated single nucleotide polymorphism-by-sex interaction, although none of them were formally replicated. Single nucleotide polymorphism-explained heritability was higher in females (0.079 vs 0.067, P = 0.006). There was a high, although not complete, genetic correlation between the sexes (r = 0.838 ± 0.041, different from 1 with P = 7.8E-05). Genetic correlation between the sexes for cBP decreased with age (0.858 ± 0.049 in younger people vs 0.544 ± 0.157 in older people; P = 4.3E-05). There was a stronger genetic correlation of cBP with self-reported diagnosis of intervertebral disk degeneration in males than in females (0.889 vs 0.638; P = 3.7E-06). Thus, the genetic component of cBP in the UK Biobank exhibits a mild sex- and age-dependency. This provides an insight into the possible causes of sex- and age-specificity in epidemiology and pathophysiology of cBP and chronic pain at other anatomical sites.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Freidin, MB; Tsepilov, YA; Stanaway, IB; Meng, W; Hayward, C; Smith, BH; Khoury, S; Parisien, M; Bortsov, A; Diatchenko, L; Børte, S; Winsvold, BS; Brumpton, BM; Zwart, J-A; Aulchenko, YS; Suri, P; Williams, FMK; HUNT All-In Pain,

Published Date

  • April 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 162 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 1176 - 1187

PubMed ID

  • 33021770

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-6623

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000002100


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States