Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is often an idiopathic chronic and intractable pain condition, affecting 1.5-5.5% of middle-aged and elderly women. We have studied the heat and capsaicin receptor TRPV1, and its regulator nerve growth factor (NGF), in BMS. Patients with BMS (n=10) and controls (n=10) were assessed for baseline and post-topical capsaicin pain scores, and their tongue biopsies immunostained for TRPV1, NGF, and structural nerve markers neurofilament and peripherin. Nerve fibres penetrating the epithelium were less abundant in BMS (p<0.0001), indicating a small fibre neuropathy. TRPV1-positive fibres were overall significantly increased in BMS (p=0.0011), as were NGF fibres (p<0.0001) and basal epithelial cell NGF staining (p<0.0147). There was a significant correlation between the baseline pain score and TRPV1 (p=0.0143) and NGF fibres (p=0.0252). A significant correlation was observed between baseline and post-capsaicin pain (p=0.0006). Selective TRPV1 and NGF blockers may provide a new therapy for BMS.

Original publication




Journal article


J Clin Neurosci

Publication Date





864 - 871


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biopsy, Burning Mouth Syndrome, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, NAV1.8 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel, Nerve Fibers, Nerve Growth Factor, Neurofilament Proteins, Pain Measurement, Sodium Channels, TRPV Cation Channels, Tongue, Trigeminal Nerve Diseases