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01-09-2014 | Review | Uitgave 7/2014

Quality of Life Research 7/2014

Biological pathways, candidate genes, and molecular markers associated with quality-of-life domains: an update

Tijdschrift:
Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2014
Auteurs:
Mirjam A. G. Sprangers, Melissa S. Y. Thong, Meike Bartels, Andrea Barsevick, Juan Ordoñana, Qiuling Shi, Xin Shelley Wang, Pål Klepstad, Eddy A. Wierenga, Jasvinder A. Singh, Jeff A. Sloan
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-014-0656-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
On behalf of the GeneQol Consortium.

Abstract

Background

There is compelling evidence of a genetic foundation of patient-reported quality of life (QOL). Given the rapid development of substantial scientific advances in this area of research, the current paper updates and extends reviews published in 2010.

Objectives

The objective was to provide an updated overview of the biological pathways, candidate genes, and molecular markers involved in fatigue, pain, negative (depressed mood) and positive (well-being/happiness) emotional functioning, social functioning, and overall QOL.

Methods

We followed a purposeful search algorithm of existing literature to capture empirical papers investigating the relationship between biological pathways and molecular markers and the identified QOL domains.

Results

Multiple major pathways are involved in each QOL domain. The inflammatory pathway has the strongest evidence as a controlling mechanism underlying fatigue. Inflammation and neurotransmission are key processes involved in pain perception, and the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is associated with multiple sorts of pain. The neurotransmitter and neuroplasticity theories have the strongest evidence for their relationship with depression. Oxytocin-related genes and genes involved in the serotonergic and dopaminergic pathways play a role in social functioning. Inflammatory pathways, via cytokines, also play an important role in overall QOL.

Conclusions

Whereas the current findings need future experiments and replication efforts, they will provide researchers supportive background information when embarking on studies relating candidate genes and/or molecular markers to QOL domains. The ultimate goal of this area of research is to enhance patients’ QOL.

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