Chronic HPA axis response to stress in temporomandibular disorder.

Journal Article

Perceived stress is associated with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), but whether cortisol levels are elevated in individuals with TMD is unknown. We hypothesized that cortisol concentration, a biomarker of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function, was elevated in TMD cases relative to controls, and that perceived stress was positively correlated with cortisol concentration.In this case control study, TMD case status was determined by examiners using TMD Research Diagnostic Criteria. Participants (n=116) aged 18 to 59 years were recruited from within a 50 mile radius of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following examination, cases (n=45) and controls (n=71) completed the 14-item Perceived Stress Scale using a reference interval of the past 3 months. Approximately 100 strands of hair were cut from the posterior vertex segment of their scalp. The 3 centimeters of hair most proximal to the scalp was analyzed with a commercially available salivary cortisol enzyme immunoassay adapted for hair cortisol. This length corresponds to the last 3 months of systemic HPA axis activity.TMD cases perceived higher stress than controls (p=0.001). However, hair cortisol concentration was lower in TMD cases than controls (p<0.001). The correlation coefficient revealed a weak negative relationship (r=-0.188) between perceived stress and hair cortisol concentration (p=0.044). In analysis stratified by case status, the relationship of perceived stress and hair cortisol concentration was non-significant for cases (p=0.169) and controls (p=0.498).Despite greater perceived stress, TMD cases had lower hair cortisol concentrations than controls and the 2 measures of stress were weakly and negatively correlated.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lambert, CA; Sanders, A; Wilder, RS; Slade, GD; Van Uum, S; Russell, E; Koren, G; Maixner, W

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 88 Suppl 1 /

Start / End Page

  • 5 - 12

PubMed ID

  • 25071145

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1553-0205

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1043-254X


  • eng