Temporomandibular joint pain: A critical role for Trpv4 in the trigeminal ganglion

Journal Article

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) is known for its mastication-associated pain. TMJD is medically relevant because of its prevalence, severity, chronicity, the therapy-refractoriness of its pain, and its largely elusive pathogenesis. Against this background, we sought to investigate the pathogenetic contributions of the calcium-permeable TRPV4 ion channel, robustly expressed in the trigeminal ganglion sensory neurons, to TMJ inflammation and pain behavior. We demonstrate here that TRPV4 is critical for TMJ-inflammation-evoked pain behavior in mice and that trigeminal ganglion pronociceptive changes are TRPV4-dependent. As a quantitative metric, bite force was recorded as evidence of masticatory sensitization, in keeping with human translational studies. In Trpv4-/- mice with TMJ inflammation, attenuation of bite force was significantly less than in wildtype (WT) mice. Similar effects were seen with systemic application of a specific TRPV4 inhibitor. TMJ inflammation and mandibular bony changes were apparent after injections of complete Freund adjuvant but were remarkably independent of the Trpv4 genotype. It was intriguing that, as a result of TMJ inflammation, WT mice exhibited significant upregulation of TRPV4 and phosphorylated extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) in TMJ-innervating trigeminal sensory neurons, which were absent in Trpv4-/- mice. Mice with genetically-impaired MEK/ERK phosphorylation in neurons showed resistance to reduction of bite force similar to that of Trpv4-/- mice. Thus, TRPV4 is necessary for masticatory sensitization in TMJ inflammation and probably functions upstream of MEK/ERK phosphorylation in trigeminal ganglion sensory neurons in vivo. TRPV4 therefore represents a novel pronociceptive target in TMJ inflammation and should be considered a target of interest in human TMJD. © 2013 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chen, Y; Williams, SH; McNulty, AL; Hong, JH; Lee, SH; Rothfusz, NE; Parekh, PK; Moore, C; IV, RWG; Taylor, AB; Wang, F; Guilak, F; Liedtke, W

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 154 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1295 - 1304

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0304-3959

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.pain.2013.04.004