Scientists Discover Gene that Aids in Pain Sensation

For patients feeling unbearable or chronic pain, the answer could lie in their genes, according to research from the University if Florida. In investigating a case of an infant that had congenital insensitivity to pain, the researchers identified two genetic mutations that affect the degree to how strongly pain signals are sent to the brain.

For patients feeling unbearable or chronic pain, the answer could lie in their genes, according to research from the University if Florida. In investigating a case of an infant that had congenital insensitivity to pain, the researchers identified two genetic mutations that affect the degree to how strongly pain signals are sent to the brain.

‘This is a gene that, depending on how it is modified, has the ability to affect pain sensitivity to a large degree,” said Dr. Roland Staud, a pain expert and professor in the UF College of Medicine who led the study, in a press release.

The scientists hope the knowledge could help shape the development of novel and effective pain therapies. The gene is called SCN9A and aids in the production of a molecule that affects the strength of pain signaling nerve cells to fire their impulses. Mutations of the gene can lead to overactivity of the molecule causing sever pain.