Crohn"s disease (CD) is a painful inflammatory bowel disease with complex multigenic inheritance. Suggested on the basis of a few isolated reports CD patients require significantly higher post operative opioid doses than patients undergoing comparable severe abdominal surgery. Crohn"s disease therefore may be a suitable model for the identification of novel pain susceptibility genes. In order to confirm this observation and to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms, we investigated if higher opioid needs of CD patients are due to a general change in pain sensitivity. Quantitative sensory testing (QST) was applied to a subgroup of patients and polymorphisms in the mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) were investigated. Significantly increased post operative opioid requirements in CD patients were confirmed and QST assessment demonstrates that CD patients do not display increased pain sensitivity in terms of lowered thresholds to thermal and mechanical stimuli. The data also suggest that common variants in OPRM1 and specific "high pain sensitivity"COMT haplotypes may not be the cause of high opioid needs. The results indicate that a more complex pathway is involved in the greater post operative opioid demand in CD. Therefore the presence of other, as yet unknown, genes could modulate opioid requirements in CD patients.
Useful keywords (using NLM MeSH Indexing)
Analgesics, Opioid/therapeutic use*
Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein
Pain, Postoperative/drug therapy*
Receptors, Opioid, mu/genetics
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