Volume 60 (2018) Issue 1 Pages 8-13
A study was conducted to evaluate the mechanisms underlying ectopic orofacial pain associated with tooth pulp inflammation in rats. We observed a significant decrease in the head withdrawal threshold (HWT) response to mechanical and heat stimuli applied to the ipsilateral facial skin upon application of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) to the upper first molar (M1TP) in comparison to application of vehicle. A large number of trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons showed transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) immunoreactivity (IR), and some of them were retrogradely labeled with fluorogold injected into the facial skin. A large number of cells showing IR for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were observed in the 2nd compared to the 1st or 3rd branch regions of the TG, and TG cells innervating the facial skin were also surrounded by GFAP-IR cells. After administration of TRPV1 antagonist into the facial skin of M1TP CFA-treated rats, the decrease of HWTs in response to mechanical and heat stimulation of the facial skin was significantly reversed. The present findings suggest that the excitability of TG neurons is enhanced upon tooth pulp inflammation, leading to overexpression of TRPV1 in TG neurons innervating the facial skin, and that satellite glial cells are also activated, resulting in the development of ectopic orofacial pain.