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Determinants of pressure pain threshold in adult twins: evidence that shared environmental influences predominate

Determinants of pressure pain threshold in adult twins: evidence that shared environmental influences predominate
Determinants of pressure pain threshold in adult twins: evidence that shared environmental influences predominate

The objective of this study was to examine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors in determining pain perception in a classical twin study. Dolorimeter measurements of pressure pain threshold (PPT) were recorded in 609 healthy female-female twin pairs of whom 269 pairs were monozygotic (MZ) and 340 were dizygotic (DZ). There was a strong correlation (R) in PPT in both MZ and DZ pairs (R(MZ) = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): [0.49, 0.65]; R(DZ) = 0.51, 95% CI: [0.42, 0.59]). The slight excess in intraclass correlation observed in MZ when compared with DZ twins corresponds to a heritability for PPT of only 10% and is not statistically significant. Neither estimate of intraclass correlation was substantially altered after adjusting for a range of potential confounding variables including age, current tobacco and alcohol use, current analgesic use, psychological status assessed by the general health questionnaire, and social class. The dolorimeter measurements were shown to be reliable (between observer agreement R = 0.66; within observer agreement R = 0.70-0.76) and stable over time. In conclusion, these data suggest that there is no significant genetic contribution to the strong correlation in PPT that is observed in twin pairs. These findings reinforce the view that learned patterns of behaviour within families are an important determinant of perceived sensitivity to pain.

Adult, Environmental Health, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Pain Threshold, Pressure, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Factors, Twins, Dizygotic, Twins, Monozygotic, Clinical Trial, Controlled Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Twin Study
0304-3959
253-7
MacGregor, A J
ce4f74d0-a5b7-4ac2-9f13-2b0d9a67ac79
Griffiths, G O
7fd300c0-d279-4ff6-842d-aa1f2b9b864d
Baker, J
b63ce09f-695b-48c8-92d7-e257c2e38880
Spector, T D
29debf10-949d-4094-8f5f-9a8614511ccb
MacGregor, A J
ce4f74d0-a5b7-4ac2-9f13-2b0d9a67ac79
Griffiths, G O
7fd300c0-d279-4ff6-842d-aa1f2b9b864d
Baker, J
b63ce09f-695b-48c8-92d7-e257c2e38880
Spector, T D
29debf10-949d-4094-8f5f-9a8614511ccb

MacGregor, A J, Griffiths, G O, Baker, J and Spector, T D (1997) Determinants of pressure pain threshold in adult twins: evidence that shared environmental influences predominate. Pain, 73 (2), 253-7. (doi:10.1016/S0304-3959(97)00101-2).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors in determining pain perception in a classical twin study. Dolorimeter measurements of pressure pain threshold (PPT) were recorded in 609 healthy female-female twin pairs of whom 269 pairs were monozygotic (MZ) and 340 were dizygotic (DZ). There was a strong correlation (R) in PPT in both MZ and DZ pairs (R(MZ) = 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): [0.49, 0.65]; R(DZ) = 0.51, 95% CI: [0.42, 0.59]). The slight excess in intraclass correlation observed in MZ when compared with DZ twins corresponds to a heritability for PPT of only 10% and is not statistically significant. Neither estimate of intraclass correlation was substantially altered after adjusting for a range of potential confounding variables including age, current tobacco and alcohol use, current analgesic use, psychological status assessed by the general health questionnaire, and social class. The dolorimeter measurements were shown to be reliable (between observer agreement R = 0.66; within observer agreement R = 0.70-0.76) and stable over time. In conclusion, these data suggest that there is no significant genetic contribution to the strong correlation in PPT that is observed in twin pairs. These findings reinforce the view that learned patterns of behaviour within families are an important determinant of perceived sensitivity to pain.

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More information

Published date: November 1997
Keywords: Adult, Environmental Health, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Pain Threshold, Pressure, Reproducibility of Results, Risk Factors, Twins, Dizygotic, Twins, Monozygotic, Clinical Trial, Controlled Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Twin Study
Organisations: Governance & Partnerships, Clinical Trials Unit

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 408710
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/408710
ISSN: 0304-3959
PURE UUID: 9588cbce-e8bb-43f1-b463-e82e5e1e236e
ORCID for G O Griffiths: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9579-8021

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Date deposited: 26 May 2017 04:04
Last modified: 31 Jul 2019 00:32

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Author: A J MacGregor
Author: G O Griffiths ORCID iD
Author: J Baker
Author: T D Spector

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