Scientists uncover mechanism for dental pain

Jan 08, 2009

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have discovered a novel function of the peptide known as Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the development of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve provides the signaling pathway for periodontal pain, dental surgical pain, and pain associated with temporomandibular disorder, trigeminal neuralgia, migraine, and other neuropathic and inflammatory conditions.

The study is posted online (www.neuropeptidesjournal.com/article/S0143-4179(08)00110-8/abstract) in the journal Neuropeptides and will appear in print issues of that journal in early 2009.

Working with researchers in the dental school departments of Endodontology and Integrative Biosciences, second-year endodontology resident and lead author of the study, Leila Tarsa, D.D.S., M.S., found a new mechanism involved in establishing junctions - known as synapses - between trigeminal nerve cells. Nerve cells communicate with one another through chemicals called transmitters that are released at synapses. The transmitter release from nerve cells endings is possible only if aided by several molecules that are critical for proper function of the synapse. Tarsa's research shows that NGF promotes transport of one of the molecules (called synaptophysin) from the nerve cell body to its ending.

"The data indicate that NGF participates in formation of neuronal connections in the trigeminal system," said Agnieszka Balkowiec, M.D., Ph.D., OHSU School of Dentistry assistant professor of integrative biosciences and OHSU School of Medicine adjunct assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology, who is the senior author of the study and whose lab hosted the research. "This study has broad implications for trigeminal nerve regeneration."

On the web: www.ohsu.edu/sod

Source: Oregon Health & Science University

Explore further: Dual role: Key cell division proteins also power up mitochondria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cochlear implants—with no exterior hardware

Feb 09, 2014

Cochlear implants—medical devices that electrically stimulate the auditory nerve—have granted at least limited hearing to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who otherwise would be totally deaf. ...

Recommended for you

Proper stem cell function requires hydrogen sulfide

1 hour ago

Stem cells in bone marrow need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry ...

Bionic ankle 'emulates nature'

7 hours ago

These days, Hugh Herr, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT, gets about 100 emails daily from people across the world interested in his bionic limbs.

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs

8 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...