- Linkage between increased nociception and olfaction via a SCN9A haplotype (2013)
- Background and Aims: Mutations reducing the function of Nav1.7 sodium channels entail diminished pain perception and olfactory acuity, suggesting a link between nociception and olfaction at ion channel level. We hypothesized that if such link exists, it should work in both directions and gain-of-function Nav1.7 mutations known to be associated with increased pain perception should also increase olfactory acuity. Methods: SCN9A variants were assessed known to enhance pain perception and found more frequently in the average population. Specifically, carriers of SCN9A variants rs41268673C>A (P610T; n = 14) or rs6746030C>T (R1150W; n = 21) were compared with non-carriers (n = 40). Olfactory function was quantified by assessing odor threshold, odor discrimination and odor identification using an established olfactory test. Nociception was assessed by measuring pain thresholds to experimental nociceptive stimuli (punctate and blunt mechanical pressure, heat and electrical stimuli). Results: The number of carried alleles of the non-mutated SCN9A haplotype rs41268673C/rs6746030C was significantly associated with the comparatively highest olfactory threshold (0 alleles: threshold at phenylethylethanol dilution step 12 of 16 (n = 1), 1 allele: 10.6±2.6 (n = 34), 2 alleles: 9.5±2.1 (n = 40)). The same SCN9A haplotype determined the pain threshold to blunt pressure stimuli (0 alleles: 21.1 N/m2, 1 allele: 29.8±10.4 N/m2, 2 alleles: 33.5±10.2 N/m2). Conclusions: The findings established a working link between nociception and olfaction via Nav1.7 in the gain-of-function direction. Hence, together with the known reduced olfaction and pain in loss-of-function mutations, a bidirectional genetic functional association between nociception and olfaction exists at Nav1.7 level.
- A common HLA-DPA1 variant is associated with hepatitis B virus infection but fails to distinguish active from inactive Caucasian carriers (2012)
- Background and Aims: Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major health issue worldwide. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DP locus were identified to be associated with HBV infection in Asian populations. Most significant associations were observed for the A alleles of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 and HLA-DPB1 rs9277535, which conferred a decreased risk for HBV infection. We assessed the implications of these variants for HBV infection in Caucasians. Methods: Two HLA-DP gene variants (rs3077 and rs9277535) were analyzed for associations with persistent HBV infection and with different clinical outcomes, i.e., inactive HBsAg carrier status versus progressive chronic HBV (CHB) infection in Caucasian patients (n = 201) and HBsAg negative controls (n = 235). Results: The HLA-DPA1 rs3077 C allele was significantly associated with HBV infection (odds ratio, OR = 5.1, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.9–13.7; p = 0.00093). However, no significant association was seen for rs3077 with progressive CHB infection versus inactive HBsAg carrier status (OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 0.6–11.1; p = 0.31). In contrast, HLA-DPB1 rs9277535 was not associated with HBV infection in Caucasians (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.9; p = 1). Conclusions: A highly significant association of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 with HBV infection was observed in Caucasians. However, as a differentiation between different clinical courses of HBV infection was not possible, knowledge of the HLA-DPA1 genotype cannot be translated into personalized anti-HBV therapy approaches.
- Effect sizes in experimental pain produced by gender, genetic variants and sensitization procedures (2011)
- Background: Various effects on pain have been reported with respect to their statistical significance, but a standardized measure of effect size has been rarely added. Such a measure would ease comparison of the magnitude of the effects across studies, for example the effect of gender on heat pain with the effect of a genetic variant on pressure pain. Methodology/Principal Findings: Effect sizes on pain thresholds to stimuli consisting of heat, cold, blunt pressure, punctuate pressure and electrical current, administered to 125 subjects, were analyzed for 29 common variants in eight human genes reportedly modulating pain, gender and sensitization procedures using capsaicin or menthol. The genotype explained 0–5.9% of the total interindividual variance in pain thresholds to various stimuli and produced mainly small effects (Cohen's d 0–1.8). The largest effect had the TRPA1 rs13255063T/rs11988795G haplotype explaining >5% of the variance in electrical pain thresholds and conferring lower pain sensitivity to homozygous carriers. Gender produced larger effect sizes than most variant alleles (1–14.8% explained variance, Cohen's d 0.2–0.8), with higher pain sensitivity in women than in men. Sensitization by capsaicin or menthol explained up to 63% of the total variance (4.7–62.8%) and produced largest effects according to Cohen's d (0.4–2.6), especially heat sensitization by capsaicin (Cohen's d = 2.6). Conclusions: Sensitization, gender and genetic variants produce effects on pain in the mentioned order of effect sizes. The present report may provide a basis for comparative discussions of factors influencing pain.
- Consequences of a Human TRPA1 Genetic Variant on the Perception of Nociceptive and Olfactory Stimuli (2014)
- Background: TRPA1 ion channels are involved in nociception and are also excited by pungent odorous substances. Based on reported associations of TRPA1 genetics with increased sensitivity to thermal pain stimuli, we therefore hypothesized that this association also exists for increased olfactory sensitivity. Methods: Olfactory function and nociception was compared between carriers (n = 38) and non-carriers (n = 43) of TRPA1 variant rs11988795 G.A, a variant known to enhance cold pain perception. Olfactory function was quantified by assessing the odor threshold, odor discrimination and odor identification, and by applying 200-ms pulses of H2S intranasal. Nociception was assessed by measuring pain thresholds to experimental nociceptive stimuli (blunt pressure, electrical stimuli, cold and heat stimuli, and 200-ms intranasal pulses of CO2). Results: Among the 11 subjects with moderate hyposmia, carriers of the minor A allele (n = 2) were underrepresented (34 carriers among the 70 normosmic subjects; p = 0.049). Moreover, carriers of the A allele discriminated odors significantly better than non-carriers (13.161.5 versus 12.361.6 correct discriminations) and indicated a higher intensity of the H2S stimuli (29.2613.2 versus 21612.8 mm VAS, p = 0.006), which, however, could not be excluded to have involved a trigeminal component during stimulation. Finally, the increased sensitivity to thermal pain could be reproduced. Conclusions: The findings are in line with a previous association of a human TRPA1 variant with nociceptive parameters and extend the association to the perception of odorants. However, this addresses mainly those stimulants that involve a trigeminal component whereas a pure olfactory effect may remain disputable. Nevertheless, findings suggest that future TRPA1 modulating drugs may modify the perception of odorants.