Cell Growth & Division | Musculoskeletal Pain & Analgesia | Psychiatric Aspects of Somatic Diseases | Pain Management: Chronic Clinical
Pain is associated with short leukocyte telomere length in women with fibromyalgia
Afton Hassett*, Daniel Clauw, Richard Harris, Steven Harte, Anson Kairys, Steven Buyske, David Williams
*Corresponding author: Afton Hassett
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
F1000Posters 2012, 3: 673 (poster) [English]
31st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society 2012, 16 - 19 May 2012, 327
The same psychosocial factors associated with shortened telomeres are commonly observed in chronic pain populations; however, little is known about telomere length in these individuals. Thus, we evaluated leukocyte telomere length in 66 women with fibromyalgia and 22 healthy female controls. In addition to questionnaire data, quantitative sensory testing (QST) and neuroimaging data were available for a subset of patients (n =12).
Although significant differences were not found between patients and controls, we found that higher levels of pain were associated with shorter telomere length. When pain and depression were combined, patients with high pain and high depression scores had an age-adjusted telomere length 265 base pairs shorter than those with low pain and low depression scores, a difference consistent with approximately six years of chronological aging. In the subset with QST and neuroimaging data, telomere length was also related to pressure pain threshold and pain sensitivity, as well as gray matter volume in pain processing areas of the brain.
These preliminary data support a relationship between pain and telomere length.
No relevant competing interests disclosed.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), R01 AR050044
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