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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Sep 2019 - 4 Oct 2019

2019 Dec

Br J Anaesth



Dopaminergic neurotransmission and genetic variation in chronification of post-surgical pain.


van Reij R R, Joosten EAJ, van den Hoogen NJ
Br J Anaesth. 2019 Dec; 123(6):853-864.
PMID: 31558312.


Chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) is a debilitating condition affecting 10-50% of surgical patients. The current treatment strategy for CPSP is not optimal, and the identification of genetic variation in surgical patients might help to improve prediction and treatment of CPSP. The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) has been associated with several chronic pain disorders. This review focuses on DA neurotransmission as a potential target in the treatment of CPSP. The current knowledge on genetic variation within DA neurotransmission and its role in CPSP susceptibility are reviewed. Three genes involved in DA neurotransmission (COMT, GCH1, and DRD2) have been associated with variability in pain sensitivity, development of CPSP, and analgesic requirement. The direction of the effect of the association is sometimes inconclusive because of contradictory results, but ample evidence suggests a modulatory role of DA. Because of this modulatory role, DA is an excellent pharmacological target in treatment of pain. Pharmacotherapy focused on DA neurotransmission has potential in both prevention (via D1-like receptors) and treatment (via D2-like receptors and DA reuptake inhibitors) of CPSP. The development of prediction models including genetic risk factors is necessary to better identify patients at risk.