Genetics of chronic pain states
Chronic pain states are common in the general population. Genetic factors can explain a significant amount of the variability in the perception of pain. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and related conditions are syndromes characterized by generalized pain sensitivity as well as a constellation of other symptoms. Family studies show a strong familial aggregation of FMS and related conditions, suggesting the importance of genetic factors in the development of these conditions. Recent evidence suggests a role for polymorphisms of genes in the serotoninergic, dopaminergic and catecholaminergic systems in the pathogenesis of FMS and related conditions. Environmental factors may trigger the development of these disorders in genetically predisposed individuals. Future large well-designed studies are needed to further clarify the role of genetic factors in FMS and related conditions. The knowledge of these gene polymorphisms may help with better subgrouping of FMS patients and in designing a more specific pharmacologic treatment approach.