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Papers of the Week

Papers: 12 Aug 2023 - 18 Aug 2023


Genetics, Human Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

Musculoskeletal Pain

2023 Aug 16

Pharmacogenomics J


Genome-wide association study on pharmacological outcomes of musculoskeletal pain in UK Biobank.


Li S, Poelmans G, van Boekel RLM, Coenen MJH


The pharmacological management of musculoskeletal pain starts with NSAIDs, followed by weak or strong opioids until the pain is under control. However, the treatment outcome is usually unsatisfying due to inter-individual differences. To investigate the genetic component of treatment outcome differences, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in ~23,000 participants with musculoskeletal pain from the UK Biobank. NSAID vs. opioid users were compared as a reflection of the treatment outcome of NSAIDs. We identified one genome-wide significant hit in chromosome 4 (rs549224715, P = 3.88 × 10). Suggestive significant (P < 1 × 10) loci were functionally annotated to 18 target genes, including four genes linked to neuropathic pain processes or musculoskeletal development. Pathway and network analyses identified immunity-related processes and a (putative) central role of EGFR. However, this study should be viewed as a first step to elucidate the genetic background of musculoskeletal pain treatment.