NaV1.8 channels play a crucial role in regulating the action potential in nociceptive neurons. A single nucleotide polymorphism in the human NaV1.8 gene SCN10A, A1073V (rs6795970, G>A), has been linked to the diminution of mechanical pain sensation as well as cardiac conduction abnormalities. Furthermore, studies have suggested that this polymorphism may result in a "loss-of-function" phenotype. In the present study, we performed genomic analysis of A1073V polymorphism presence in a cohort of patients undergoing sigmoid colectomy who provided information regarding perioperative pain and analgesic use. Homozygous carriers reported significantly reduced severity in postoperative abdominal pain compared with heterozygous and wild-type carriers. Homozygotes also trended toward using less analgesic/opiates during the postoperative period. We also heterologously expressed the wild-type and A1073V variant in rat superior cervical ganglion neurons. Electrophysiological testing demonstrated that the mutant NaV1.8 channels activated at more depolarized potentials compared with wild-type channels. Our study revealed that postoperative abdominal pain is diminished in homozygous carriers of A1073V and that this is likely due to reduced transmission of action potentials in nociceptive neurons. Our findings reinforce the importance of NaV1.8 and the A1073V polymorphism to pain perception. This information could be used to develop new predictive tools to optimize patient pain experience and analgesic use in the perioperative setting.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We present evidence that in a cohort of patients undergoing sigmoid colectomy, those homozygous for the NaV1.8 polymorphism (rs6795970) reported significantly lower abdominal pain scores than individuals with the homozygous wild-type or heterozygous genotype. In vitro electrophysiological recordings also suggest that the mutant NaV1.8 channel activates at more depolarizing potentials than the wild-type Na+ channel, characteristic of hypoactivity. This is the first report linking the rs6795970 mutation with postoperative abdominal pain in humans.
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