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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Aug 2022 - 19 Aug 2022

Human Studies

2022 Apr

Mol Pain


Epigenetic age predictors in community-dwelling adults with high impact knee pain.


Cruz-Almeida Y, Johnson A, Meng L, Sinha P, Rani A, Yoder S, Huo Z, Foster TC, Fillingim RB
Mol Pain. 2022 Apr; 18:17448069221118004.
PMID: 35968561.


Gerontological research reveals considerable interindividual variability in aging phenotypes, and emerging evidence suggests that high impact chronic pain may be associated with various accelerated biological aging processes. In particular, epigenetic aging is a robust predictor of health-span and disability compared to chronological age alone. The current study aimed to determine whether several epigenetic aging biomarkers were associated with high impact chronic pain in middle to older age adults (44-78 years old). Participants ( = 213) underwent a blood draw, demographic, psychosocial, pain and functional assessments. We estimated five epigenetic clocks and calculated the difference between epigenetic age and chronological age, which has been previously reported to predict overall mortality risk, as well as included additional derived variables of epigenetic age previously associated with pain. There were significant differences across Pain Impact groups in three out of the five epigenetic clocks examined (DNAmAge, DNAmPhenoAge and DNAmGrimAge), indicating that pain-related disability during the past 6 months was associated with markers of epigenetic aging. Only DNAmPhenoAge and DNAmGrimAge were associated with higher knee pain intensity during the past 48 h. Finally, pain catastrophizing, depressive symptomatology and more neuropathic pain symptoms were significantly associated with an older epigenome in only one of the five epigenetic clocks (i.e. DNAmGrimAge) after correcting for multiple comparisons (corrected 's < 0.05). Given the scant literature in relation to epigenetic aging and the complex experience of pain, additional research is needed to understand whether epigenetic aging may help identify people with chronic pain at greater risk of functional decline and poorer health outcomes.