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Open AccessArticle

A Pilot Study Investigating the Role of Gender in the Intergenerational Relationships between Gene Expression, Chronic Pain, and Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Clinical Sample of Youth with Chronic Pain

1
Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
2
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
3
Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
4
Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
5
Department of Pediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 4N1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Olga Kovalchuk and Gerlinde A. S. Metz
Received: 3 February 2021 / Revised: 24 March 2021 / Accepted: 13 April 2021 / Published: 15 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Disease through A Sex and Gender Lens)
Chronic pain is a highly prevalent and costly issue that often emerges during childhood or adolescence and persists into adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increase risk for several adverse health conditions, including chronic pain. Recent evidence suggests that parental trauma (ACEs, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms) confers risk of poor health outcomes in their children. Intergenerational relationships between parental trauma and child chronic pain may be mediated by epigenetic mechanisms. A clinical sample of youth with chronic pain and their parents completed psychometrically sound questionnaires assessing ACEs, PTSD symptoms, and chronic pain, and provided a saliva sample. These were used to investigate the intergenerational relationships between four epigenetic biomarkers (COMT, DRD2, GR, and SERT), trauma, and chronic pain. The results indicated that the significant biomarkers were dependent upon the gender of the child, wherein parental ACEs significantly correlated with changes in DRD2 expression in female children and altered COMT expression in the parents of male children. Additionally, the nature of the ACE (maltreatment vs. household dysfunction) was associated with the specific epigenetic changes. There may be different pathways through which parental ACEs confer risk for poor outcomes for males and females, highlighting the importance of child gender in future investigations. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomarker; dopamine; epigenetics; trauma; ACEs; PTSD; parents; children; adolescents biomarker; dopamine; epigenetics; trauma; ACEs; PTSD; parents; children; adolescents
MDPI and ACS Style

Christensen, J.; Beveridge, J.K.; Wang, M.; Orr, S.L.; Noel, M.; Mychasiuk, R. A Pilot Study Investigating the Role of Gender in the Intergenerational Relationships between Gene Expression, Chronic Pain, and Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Clinical Sample of Youth with Chronic Pain. Epigenomes 2021, 5, 9. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epigenomes5020009

AMA Style

Christensen J, Beveridge JK, Wang M, Orr SL, Noel M, Mychasiuk R. A Pilot Study Investigating the Role of Gender in the Intergenerational Relationships between Gene Expression, Chronic Pain, and Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Clinical Sample of Youth with Chronic Pain. Epigenomes. 2021; 5(2):9. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epigenomes5020009

Chicago/Turabian Style

Christensen, Jennaya; Beveridge, Jaimie K.; Wang, Melinda; Orr, Serena L.; Noel, Melanie; Mychasiuk, Richelle. 2021. "A Pilot Study Investigating the Role of Gender in the Intergenerational Relationships between Gene Expression, Chronic Pain, and Adverse Childhood Experiences in a Clinical Sample of Youth with Chronic Pain" Epigenomes 5, no. 2: 9. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/epigenomes5020009

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