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Genetic influences on brain activation and large-scale functional connectivity during nociceptive processing: a twin study

By Gránit Kastrati, Jörgen Rosén, William Hedley Thompson, Xu Chen, Henrik Larsson, Thomas E. Nichols, Irene Tracey, Peter Fransson, Fredrik Åhs, Karin B Jensen

Posted 08 Jan 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.08.425878

Nociceptive processing in the human brain is a signal that enables harm avoidance, with large interindividual variance. The relative contributions of genes and environment to the neural structures that support nociception have not been studied in twins previously. Here, we employed a classic twin-design to determine brain structures influenced by additive genetics. We found genetic influences on nociceptive processing in the midcingulate cortex, bilateral posterior insulae and thalamus. In addition to brain activations, we found genetic contributions to large-scale functional connectivity during nociceptive processing. We conclude that additive genetics influence specific aspects of nociceptive processing, which improves our understanding of human nociceptive processing.

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