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Papers of the Week

Papers: 9 Apr 2022 - 15 Apr 2022

2022 Mar 25

Int J Mol Sci



The Molecular Basis and Pathophysiology of Trigeminal Neuralgia.


Chen QL, Yi D I, Perez J N J, Liu M, Chang SD, Barad MJ, Lim M, Qian X
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 25; 23(7).
PMID: 35408959.


Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a complex orofacial pain syndrome characterized by the paroxysmal onset of pain attacks in the trigeminal distribution. The underlying mechanism for this debilitating condition is still not clearly understood. Decades of basic and clinical evidence support the demyelination hypothesis, where demyelination along the trigeminal afferent pathway is a major driver for TN pathogenesis and pathophysiology. Such pathological demyelination can be triggered by physical compression of the trigeminal ganglion or another primary demyelinating disease, such as multiple sclerosis. Further examination of TN patients and animal models has revealed significant molecular changes, channelopathies, and electrophysiological abnormalities in the affected trigeminal nerve. Interestingly, recent electrophysiological recordings and advanced functional neuroimaging data have shed new light on the global structural changes and the altered connectivity in the central pain-related circuits in TN patients. The current article aims to review the latest findings on the pathophysiology of TN and cross-examining them with the current surgical and pharmacologic management for TN patients. Understanding the underlying biology of TN could help scientists and clinicians to identify novel targets and improve treatments for this complex, debilitating disease.