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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Oct 2022 - 4 Nov 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Oct 31

Brain Res Bull

Ligand-gated ion channel P2X7 regulates NLRP3/Caspase-1-mediated inflammatory pain caused by pulpitis in the trigeminal ganglion and medullary dorsal horn.


Emerging research has revealed that the activation of the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasomes contribute to the development of inflammatory and neuropathic pains. In addition, microglia are involved in the central nervous system (CNS) pain conduction. However, the relationship between NLRP3 inflammasome and dental inflammatory pain conduction is yet to be established. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the roles of P2X7 and NLRP3/Caspase-1 (CASP1) in the inflammatory pain caused by pulpitis using a rat experimental pulpitis model. We discovered that the decreased pain threshold was inversely correlated with the increased expression of NLRP3, Caspase-1, P2X7, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-18 in the trigeminal ganglion and dorsal horn of the medulla after dental pulp exposure. Furthermore, the pain threshold of rats caused by pulpitis was increased by intraperitoneal injection of Brilliant Blue G (BBG), a P2X7 inhibitor, and the expression levels of NLRP3 and related inflammatory factors IL-1β and IL-18 were decreased. Moreover, treatment with 130nM KCl, a P2X7 inhibitor, significantly reduced the expression of NLRP3, IL-1β, IL-18, Caspase-1, and P2X7 in microglia after lipopolysaccharide(LPS) stimulation. In conclusion, our findings suggest that NLRP3/ CASP1 plays a vital role in the conduction of dental pain; the P2X7regulates NLRP3 pathway in the context of dental inflammatory pain conduction, and inhibiting P2X7 may be a potential strategy for dental inflammatory pain relief.