Genetic and environmental contributions to sleep quality and low back pain: a population-based twin study.


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the extent to which the co-occurrence of poor sleep quality and low back pain is due to the same genetic and/or environmental risk factors or due to a causal association. METHODS: Cross-sectional data on sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality index) and low back pain were collected in a population-based sample of adult twins (n=2,134) registered with the Murcia Twin Registry. Bivariate analysis and structural equation modelling were used. RESULTS: The phenotypic correlation between sleep quality and low back pain was 0.23 (95%CI 0.17 to 0.28). The best-fitting bivariate model included additive genetic and unique environmental factors. Genetic factors accounted for 26% (95%CI 10 to 40) and 34% (95%CI 25 to 43) of the variability of low back pain and sleep quality, respectively. The correlation between the genetic factors underlying each trait was rG=0.33, 95%CI 0.03 to 0.66, and this overlap of genetic factors explained 42.5% of the phenotypic correlation. On the other hand, non-shared environmental factors of each variable were only fairly correlated rE=0.19, 95%CI 0.06 to 0.31, although this overlap explained 57.5% of the phenotypic correlation. In addition twins in monozygotic (MZ) pairs with poorer sleep quality presented more often with low back pain than their co-twins (? [Combining Circumflex Accent]=0.25, p< .0001). CONCLUSIONS: The data are compatible with a causal effect of sleep quality on low back pain (or the reverse effect), since the correlations between the genetic and unique environmental factors for each trait were significant and there was a significant correlation between the MZ twins' difference scores. Apart from environmental factors that affect both characteristics, there are many individual-specific events that influence low back pain but differ from those influencing sleep quality.

Authors Pinheiro, Marina B; Morosoli, Jose J; Ferreira, Manuela L; Madrid-Valero, Juan J; Refshauge, Kathryn; Ferreira, Paulo H; Ordoñana, Juan R
Pages 263-270
Volume 80
Date 1/12/2017
Grant ID
Funding Body
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