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Papers of the Week

2020 Mar 04

J Oral Sci

Pathophysiological mechanisms of persistent orofacial pain.


Shinoda M, Hayashi Y, Kubo A, Iwata K
J Oral Sci. 2020 Mar 04.
PMID: 32132329.


Nociceptive stimuli to the orofacial region are typically received by the peripheral terminal of trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons, and noxious orofacial information is subsequently conveyed to the trigeminal spinal subnucleus caudalis and the upper cervical spinal cord (C1-C2). This information is further transmitted to the cortical somatosensory regions and limbic system via the thalamus, which then leads to the perception of pain. It is a well-established fact that the presence of abnormal pain in the orofacial region is etiologically associated with neuroplastic changes that may occur at any point in the pain transmission pathway from the peripheral to the central nervous system (CNS). Recently, several studies have reported that functional plastic changes in a large number of cells, including TG neurons, glial cells (satellite cells, microglia, and astrocytes), and immune cells (macrophages and neutrophils), contribute to the sensitization and disinhibition of neurons in the peripheral and CNS, which results in orofacial pain hypersensitivity.