“The study is quite significant because it provides an objective way to understand pain and why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others,” said Tobore Onojjighofia from Proove Biosciences and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Identifying whether a person has these four genes could help doctors better understand a patient’s perception of pain.
To figure this out, researchers evaluated 2,721 people diagnosed with chronic pain for four genes – COMT, DRD2, DRD1 and OPRK1.
The participants rated their perception of pain on a scale from zero to 10.
Nine percent of the participants had low pain perception, 46 percent had moderate pain perception and 45 percent had high pain perception.
The researchers found that the DRD1 gene variant was 33 percent more prevalent in the low-pain group than in the high-pain group.
Among people with a moderate pain perception, the COMT and OPRK variants were 25 percent and 19 percent more often found than in those with a high pain perception.
The DRD2 variant was 25 percent more common among those with a high pain perception compared to people with moderate pain.
“Finding genes that may be play a role in pain perception could provide a target for developing new therapies and help physicians better understand their patients’ perceptions of pain,” Onojjighofia suggested.