Silencing of TRPV4-expressing sensory neurons attenuates temporomandibular disorders pain.

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Identification of potential therapeutic targets is needed for temporomandibular disorders (TMD) pain, the most common form of orofacial pain, because current treatments lack efficacy. Considering TMD pain is critically mediated by the trigeminal ganglion (TG) sensory neurons, functional blockade of nociceptive neurons in the TG may provide an effective approach for mitigating pain associated with TMD. We have previously shown that TRPV4, a polymodally-activated ion channel, is expressed in TG nociceptive neurons. Yet, it remains unexplored whether functional silencing of TRPV4-expressing TG neurons attenuates TMD pain. In this study, we demonstrated that co-application of a positively charged, membrane-impermeable lidocaine derivative QX-314 with the TRPV4 selective agonist GSK101 suppressed the excitability of TG neurons. Moreover, co-administration of QX-314 and GSK101 into the TG significantly attenuated pain in mouse models of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation and masseter muscle injury. Collectively, these results suggest TRPV4-expressing TG neurons represent a potential target for TMD pain.


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Dias, Fabiana C, Zilong Wang, Garrett Scapellato and Yong Chen (2023). Silencing of TRPV4-expressing sensory neurons attenuates temporomandibular disorders pain. Molecular pain, 19. p. 17448069231185696. 10.1177/17448069231185696 Retrieved from

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Yong Chen

Associate Professor in Neurology

Dr. Yong Chen is an Associate Professor of Neurology at the Duke University School of Medicine.  He is also affiliated with Duke Anesthesiology-Center for Translational Pain Medicine (CTPM) and Duke-Pathology.

The Chen lab mainly studies sensory neurobiology of pain and itch, with a focus on TRP ion channels and neural circuits. The main objective of our lab is to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying chronic pain and chronic-disease associated itch, using a combination of animal behavioral, genetic, molecular and cellular, advanced imaging, viral, and optogenetic approaches.  There are three major research areas in the lab: craniofacial pain, arthritis pain and joint function, and systemic-disease associated itch.

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