A mini-review: Bridging the gap between autism spectrum disorder and pain comorbidities Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background: Pain is a complex neurobiological response with a multitude of causes; however, patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often report chronic pain with no known etiology. Recent research has been aimed toward identifying the causal mechanisms of pain in mouse and human models of ASD. In recent years, efforts have been made to better document and explore secondary phenotypes observed in ASD patients in the clinic. As new sequencing studies have become more powered with larger cohorts within ASD, specific genes and their variants are often left uncharacterized or validated. In this review we highlight ASD risk genes often presented with pain comorbidities. Aims: This mini-review bridges the gap between two fields of literature, neurodevelopmental disorders and pain research. We discuss the importance of the genetic landscape of ASD and its links to pain phenotypes. Results: Among the numerous genes implicated in ASD, few have been implicated with varying severities of pain comorbidity. Mutations in these genes, such as SCN9A, SHANK3, and CNTNAP2, lead to altered neuronal function that produce different responses to pain, shown in both mouse and human models. Conclusion: There is a necessity to use new technologies to advance the current understanding of ASD risk genes and their contributions to pain. Secondly, there is a need to power future ASD risk genes associated with pain with their own cohort, because a better understanding is needed of this subpopulation.

publication date

  • December 21, 2020