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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023


Genetics, Human Studies, Neurobiology

Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Jun 10

J Pers Med




Development and Replication of a Genome-Wide Polygenic Risk Score for Chronic Back Pain.


Tsepilov YA, Elgaeva EE, Nostaeva AV, Compte R, Kuznetsov IA, Karssen LC, Freidin MB, Suri P, Williams FMK, Aulchenko YS


Chronic back pain (CBP) is a complex heritable trait and a major cause of disability worldwide. We developed and validated a genome-wide polygenic risk score (PRS) for CBP using a large-scale GWAS based on UK Biobank participants of European ancestry (N = 265,000). The PRS showed poor overall predictive ability (AUC = 0.56 and OR = 1.24 per SD, 95% CI: 1.22-1.26), but individuals from the 99th percentile of PRS distribution had a nearly two-fold increased risk of CBP (OR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.60-2.06). We validated the PRS on an independent TwinsUK sample, obtaining a similar magnitude of effect. The PRS was significantly associated with various ICD-10 and OPCS-4 diagnostic codes, including chronic ischemic heart disease (OR = 1.1, -value = 4.8 × 10), obesity, metabolism-related traits, spine disorders, disc degeneration, and arthritis-related disorders. PRS and environment interaction analysis with twelve known CBP risk factors revealed no significant results, suggesting that the magnitude of G × E interactions with studied factors is small. The limited predictive ability of the PRS that we developed is likely explained by the complexity, heterogeneity, and polygenicity of CBP, for which sample sizes of a few hundred thousand are insufficient to estimate small genetic effects robustly.