Table of Contents
ISRN Nursing
Volume 2011, Article ID 672579, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.5402/2011/672579
Review Article

Genomics and Pain Research in Sickle Cell Disease: An Explanation of Heterogeneity?

College of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington, 411 S. Nedderman Drive, Arlington, TX 76019, USA

Received 8 March 2011; Accepted 24 March 2011

Academic Editors: S. McClement and R. Northway

Copyright © 2011 Maxine Adegbola. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic illness, and the major complication, pain, results in complex multidimensional problems that affect an individual's ability to maintain adequate quality of life in multiple areas. Chronic SCD pain is inadequately treated, because it is not well understood, and the degree of chronic pain, clinical presentation, and sequela complications can vary from patient to patient, even among individuals with the same SCD genotype. The reason for this variation is unknown, but the underlying cause might be genetic. Researchers have not explored the contribution of a genomic variable to the occurrence of heterogeneous chronic SCD pain. Previous research on the guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase (GCH1) gene suggests that in some cases, phenotypic heterogeneity in human sensitivity to pain correlates with underlying genotypic variations in the GCH1 gene. These findings imply that genotypic variations might also explain why some SCD patients experience more chronic pain than others.