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Cambridge Institute for Medical Research


Complex regional pain syndrome type 1 (CRPS-1) is a rare, disabling and sometimes chronic disorder usually arising after a trauma. In a recent study, the Woods lab examined whether patients with this condition have a different genetic profile compared with those who do not.

A cohort of patients with CRPS were compared a cohort of individuals with other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia. It was found that in the CRPS cohort, the rare allele frequencies of four non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were statistically increased. Although CRPS-1 is less common in males, they were more likely to have genetic findings, suggesting that CRPS-1 has sex-specific aetiological causes.

The data support an underlying genetic predisposition to CRPS-1 in up to a third of cases, with this effect being most prominent in males. The rare alleles of the SNPs reported could lead to the discovery of CRPS-1-specific dysregulated cell lineage functions.