Capsaicin sensitive neurons role in the inflamed TMJ acute nociceptive response of female and male rats. Academic Article uri icon


  • Computerized meal pattern analysis, and more specifically meal duration, has recently been used as a non-invasive biological marker of nociception in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Cells responsible for the nociceptive response in the inflamed TMJ may include capsaicin (CAP) sensitive neurons. To test the role of CAP sensitive neurons in acute nociceptive responses first, male and female rats were treated neonatally with vehicle or CAP, an agent known to destroy a majority of C fibers. Second, after 56 days the rats were divided into four groups: neonatal vehicle-injected and treated with and without complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). Treatment groups included neonatal non-CAP vehicle treated and TMJ not-injected (CON); vehicle treated and TMJ CFA injected (CFA); CAP-treated and not-injected (CAP); and CAP-treated and CFA injected (CAP+CFA). Meal patterns were analyzed for two days after injection. CFA-injection in non-CAP-treated rats lengthened meal duration on the first and second day after treatment in the males, but only on the first day in the females. CAP treatment in male and female rats prevented significant lengthening of meal duration induced by CFA. CAP treatment attenuated the CFA-induced increase in calcitonin gene-related peptide expression in the trigeminal ganglia similarly in males and females. The data suggests CAP-sensitive neurons are responsible, in part, for transmission of acute nociceptive responses associated with CFA administration and suggest gender can affect nociception in the inflamed TMJ region.

published proceedings

  • Physiol Behav

author list (cited authors)

  • Bellinger, L. L., Spears, R., King, C. M., Dahm, F., Hutchins, B., Kerins, C. A., & Kramer, P. R.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Bellinger, Larry L||Spears, Robert||King, Christopher M||Dahm, Fred||Hutchins, Bob||Kerins, Carolyn A||Kramer, Phillip R

publication date

  • January 2007