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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Oct 2023 - 20 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 16

Sci Rep




Nociceptors regulate osteoimmune transcriptomic response to infection.


Lillis KV, Austah O, Grinceviciute R, Garlet GP, Diogenes A


Osteoimmune diseases, such as apical periodontitis, are prevalent, often painful, inflammatory conditions resulting in bone loss and reduced quality of life. There is growing evidence that the nociceptive fibers densely innervating affected tissues regulate disease progression; therefore, we hypothesized that nociceptors regulate the transcriptomic profile of the periapical osteolytic lesion in a mouse model of apical periodontitis. Male control and nociceptor-ablated mice underwent pulp exposures, and after 0, 7, or 14 days, total RNA from periapical tissues was submitted for sequencing and bioinformatic analysis. Pulp exposure triggers the differential expression of hundreds of genes over the course of infection. At 14 days post pulp exposure, 422 genes, including Tnf, Il1a, and Il1b, were differentially expressed between nociceptor-ablated and control mice with greater enrichment of biological processes related to inflammation in nociceptor-ablated mice. Nociceptor ablation regulates the transcriptomic profile of periapical lesions in a mouse model of apical periodontitis, shifting the gene expression profile to a greater enrichment of inflammatory genes, suggesting nociceptors play a role in the kinetics of the immune response. This newly uncovered neuro-immune axis and its mechanisms in apical periodontitis can be an important therapeutic target for the treatment of this prevalent disease.