Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dentistry Team Discovers Potential New Target For Treating Craniofacial Pain Problems

Date:
November 1, 2006
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University's School of Dentistry have uncovered an interaction between two proteins in the nerve cells that carry pain information from the head and neck to the brain. The finding could play a significant role in the development of therapies to cure migraines and other craniofacial pain conditions like TMJ disorder.

Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University's School of Dentistry have uncovered an interaction between two proteins in the nerve cells that carry pain information from the head and neck to the brain. The finding could play a significant role in the development of therapies to cure migraines and other craniofacial pain conditions like TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 10 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain conditions and a significant portion of them have chronic craniofacial pain.

Related Articles


The new discovery was published online Oct. 25, 2006, in the Journal of Neurochemistry, one of the leading peer-reviewed neuroscience journals. The study also is expected to be published in the print version of the Journal of Neurochemistry within the next two weeks.

"Our discovery reveals the complexities of pain signaling mechanisms from the head and neck to the brain," said Agnieszka Balkowiec, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator, OHSU School of Dentistry assistant professor of integrative biosciences and OHSU School of Medicine adjunct assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology.

Head pain is signaled to the brain by what's known as the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve also conveys other types of sensation, such as touch and temperature, from numerous structures of the face, including skin, ears, cornea, temporomandibular joints and teeth. Studies suggest that the trigeminal nerve provides the signaling pathway for pain associated with migraines, TMJ disorder, periodontal pain, dental surgical pain, trigeminal neuralgia, head and neck cancer pain, and other neuropathic and inflammatory pain conditions.

The OHSU study focused on two trigeminal nerve cell proteins: Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP), and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Previous studies found that during a migraine attack, the stimulation of trigeminal nerve cells releases CGRP at the peripheral end of the cells, widening blood vessels in the brain coverings called meninges. Widening the blood vessels increases the flow of blood through the meninges and initiates an inflammatory process that likely contributes to the pain experience. Recent clinical studies show that blocking CGRP helps alleviate migraine pain.

The discovery by Balkowiec and her team points to BDNF being a likely culprit behind head pain - a previously unknown finding. The OHSU team found that the stimulation of trigeminal nerve cells, as experienced during a migraine attack, leads to release of not only CGRP, but also BDNF. The study also found that BDNF is released by CGRP when trigeminal nerve cells are not stimulated. In fact, said Balkowiec, CGRP's role at the central end of the trigeminal nerve cells is likely to be the facilitation of BDNF release. BDNF has previously been shown to play an important role in pain signaling from other parts of the body, but this is the first time it has been considered to be a factor in head pain.

"What we now need to better understand is how the interaction between CGRP and BDNF affects pain signaling to the brain in various disorders," said Balkowiec.

Balkowiec's team included School of Medicine doctoral student Ilya Buldyrev; School of Dentistry dental students Nathan Tanner and Loi Nguyen; School of Dentistry research assistant Hui-ya Hsieh; and Oberlin College senior Emily Dodd.

The research at OHSU was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, American Association for Dental Research and the OHSU School of Dentistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health & Science University. "Dentistry Team Discovers Potential New Target For Treating Craniofacial Pain Problems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030183139.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2006, November 1). Dentistry Team Discovers Potential New Target For Treating Craniofacial Pain Problems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030183139.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "Dentistry Team Discovers Potential New Target For Treating Craniofacial Pain Problems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030183139.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

British Navy Ship Arrives in Sierra Leone With Ebola Aid

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The British ship RFA ARGUS arrived in Sierra Leone to deliver supplies and equipment to help the fight against Ebola. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins