A new large-scale genome-wide study has identified 18 new genetic risk factors for opioid use disorder, bringing the number of OUD-associated genes from 1-19.
Centralized sensation, or abnormal pain processing in the brain and spinal cord, may be an important underlying factor complicating the treatment of chronic pain in those with opioid use disorder.
Opioid use disorder affects genes associated with proinflammatory immune molecule encoding and genes associated with remodeling the extracellular matrix, suggesting the connection between neurons may be altered as a result of opioid use. Additionally, those with OUD have higher levels of microglia in the brain.
Study reveals 412 counties, mainly in the Midwest and South, are at the highest risk of opioid deaths in the US. Researchers propose new strategies for improving treatment for opioid addiction.