OPRM1 A118G polymorphism modulating motor pathway for pain adaptability in women with primary dysmenorrhea

謝仁俊教授研究團隊發表研究成果於Frontiers in Neuroscience


Introduction: Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM) is a common condition among women of reproductive age, characterized by menstrual pain in the absence of any organic causes. Previous research has established a link between the A118G polymorphism in the mu-opioid receptor (OPRM1) gene and pain experience in PDM. Specifically, carriers of the G allele have been found to exhibit maladaptive functional connectivity between the descending pain modulatory system and the motor system in young women with PDM. This study aims to explore the potential relationship between the OPRM1 A118G polymorphism and changes in white matter in young women with PDM.

Methods: The study enrolled 43 individuals with PDM, including 13 AA homozygotes and 30 G allele carriers. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans were performed during both the menstrual and peri-ovulatory phases, and tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and probabilistic tractography were used to explore variations in white matter microstructure related to the OPRM1 A118G polymorphism. The short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) was used to access participants’ pain experience during the MEN phase.

Results: Two-way ANOVA on TBSS analysis revealed a significant main effect of genotype, with no phase effect or phase-gene interaction detected. Planned contrast analysis showed that during the menstrual phase, G allele carriers had higher fractional anisotropy (FA) and lower radial diffusivity in the corpus callosum and the left corona radiata compared to AA homozygotes. Tractographic analysis indicated the involvement of the left internal capsule, left corticospinal tract, and bilateral medial motor cortex. Additionally, the mean FA of the corpus callosum and the corona radiata was negatively correlated with MPQ scales in AA homozygotes, but this correlation was not observed in G allele carriers. No significant genotype difference was found during the pain-free peri-ovulary phase.

Discussion: OPRM1 A118G polymorphism may influence the connection between structural integrity and dysmenorrheic pain, where the G allele could impede the pain-regulating effects of the A allele. These novel findings shed light on the underlying mechanisms of both adaptive and maladaptive structural neuroplasticity in PDM, depending on the specific OPRM1 polymorphism.