Shared Genetics of Temporomandibular Disorder Pain and Neck Pain: Results of a Twin Study

Corine M Visscher, Maarten J Schouten, Lannie Ligthart, Caroline Mhh van Houtem, Ad de Jongh, Dorret I Boomsma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


AIMS: (1) To examine the heritability of TMD pain and of neck pain; and (2) to estimate the potential overlap in genetic and environmental factors influencing TMD pain and neck pain.

METHODS: Data from 2,238 adult female twins who completed a survey on TMD pain and neck pain were analyzed. The total variance of TMD pain and neck pain was decomposed into variance attributable to additive genetic effects and nonshared environmental effects. Bivariate structural equation modeling was applied to estimate trait-specific and genetic effects shared between traits.

RESULTS: The prevalence of TMD pain and neck pain was 8.6% and 46.8%, respectively, while 6.7% of the twins reported both TMD pain and neck pain. The phenotypic correlation between TMD pain and neck pain, based on a liability threshold model, was 0.43 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.34 to 0.51). The heritability for TMD was 0.35 (0.17 to 0.51), and for neck pain was 0.33 (0.23 to 0.43). The genetic correlation between TMD pain and neck pain was 0.64 (0.35 to 1.00), and the environmental correlation was 0.32 (0.14 to 0.48).

CONCLUSION: This study shows that variation in TMD pain and neck pain can in part be attributed to genes. The comorbidity between them is partly explained by genes that influence both traits and partly by the same environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of oral & facial pain and headache
Issue number2
Early online date6 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018



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