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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep 12


Somatosensory and trigeminal pathway abnormalities in Chinese patients with trigeminal neuralgia.


Li Y, Yang G, Zhai X, Kang Y, Xie Q-F
Odontology. 2022 Sep 12.
PMID: 36094685.


This study aimed to evaluate somatosensory function in Chinese patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) using a standard quantitative sensory testing (QST) battery and electrophysiological tests consisting of contact heat-evoked potentials (CHEPs) and blink reflex (BR). Twenty patients with TN and 20 sex- and age-matched healthy controls were recruited for this study. A standard QST protocol recommended by the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain was carried out on the patients' painful and contralateral faces, the controls' right faces, and all participants' right hands. The CHEPs and BR were recorded at the Cz electrode and bilateral lower bellies of the orbicularis oculi, respectively, with thermal stimuli applied to both sides of the patient's face and the control's right face. The cold detection threshold, heat pain threshold, and mechanical pain threshold on the painful face were lower than those of healthy controls (P < 0.05), whereas the cold pain threshold and mechanical detection threshold were higher (P < 0.05) on the painful faces than those of the contralateral faces from patients or healthy controls. Mechanical pain sensitivity was higher in both test sites than in healthy controls (P < 0.05). Significantly longer N latencies (P < 0.05) and lower N-P amplitudes (P < 0.01) were detected in the patients' painful sites than in the contralateral sites and those of healthy controls. Comprehensive somatosensory abnormalities were found in painful facial sites in patients with TN, suggesting disturbances in the processing of somatosensory stimuli. Deficiencies in electrophysiological tests further revealed unilaterally impaired function of the trigeminal pathway in TN patients.