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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

DOI

10.1016/j.jocn.2006.09.002

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Clin Neurosci

Publication Date

09/2007

Volume

14

Pages

864 - 871

Keywords

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