Chronic pain in Black people in the US may be linked to gene expression

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Stress-linked changes in the activity of genes may be why Black people in the US often have worse chronic pain than white people



Humans



28 March 2022

Methyltransferase complexed with DNA, molecular model. The strand of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid, green and blue) is enclosed by DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT-1, green and pink). This enzyme acts to add methyl groups to the DNA, a process called DNA methylation, which can silence and regulate genes without changing the genetic sequence. DNA methylation is also being studied in relation to cancer.

An enzyme adding methyl groups to DNA in a process called methylation

LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Black people in the US have worse chronic pain than white people due in part to gene expression.

Chronic stress has previously been linked to racial discrimination, and can lead to changes in gene expression. Edwin Aroke at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his colleagues collected blood samples from 98 people – half were Black and half were non-Hispanic white, and they had an average age of 45. Half the group had chronic lower back pain, …



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