Are there gender-dependent differences in how chronic pain affects people?

A classic and very colloquial question is whether the tolerance and/or perception of pain is different in people of different gender, age, or psychological condition. Preclinical studies have shown that chronic pain can be different in intensity and duration depending on these factors.

However, and due to its experimental complexity, little is known whether there are differences at the level of gene expression in patients of different genders suffering from chronic pain.

Using 50 samples of sensory neurons from patients with ongoing neuropathic pain, this work determined the existence of robust differences between gene expression profiles between male and female patients.

Some genes associated with neuropathic pain, such as IL1b, TNF, and TLR3, among others, were shown to be differentially increased in patients of different genders.

Thus, this work establishes that the development of neuropathic pain in humans depends, at least in part, on gender-related differences that impact at the level of genetic expression of sensory neurons.


Pradipta R Ray, Stephanie Shiers, James P Caruso, Diana Tavares-Ferreira, Ishwarya Sankaranarayanan, Megan L Uhelski, Yan Li, Robert Y North, Claudio Tatsui, Gregory Dussor, Michael D Burton, Patrick M Dougherty, Theodore J Price.