The human tooth pulp has many nerve fibers and is a common source of pain. This study
examines nerve fibers within normal and painful samples and identifies changes that can
contribute to the generation of pain.
The human tooth pulp is a rich source of pain fibers and is a common site of pathology that
is often accompanied by spontaneous and stimulus-induced lingering pain. A common treatment
modality includes the extraction of the offending tooth diagnosed with irreversible
pulpitis. Extracted teeth represent an abundant source of normal and diseased human
nociceptors and the evaluation of these tissues represents a powerful model to study human
pain mechanisms since the character of pain, pain levels, and response to stimuli can be
documented prior to extraction.
The overall objective of this study is to correlate changes in the expression of Sodium
Channels (NaCh) with clinical responses to hot and cold thermal stimuli, and the expression
of the associated receptors/transducers responsible for receiving that stimulus in extracted
teeth with severe and spontaneous pain. Teeth requiring extraction in the clinical setting
will be used for this study.
The research questions are: 1.) To evaluate quantitatively the overall NaCh and Nav 1.3,
1.6, 1.7, 1.8 1.9 isoform expressions in nerves of normal teeth as compared to diseased
teeth 2.) To evaluate quantitatively hot/cold VR1 and CMR1 receptor expression in nerves of
normal teeth as compared to the nerves in the modality-specific pain groups of diseased
teeth 3.) To investigate the ultrastructural localization of NaCh isoforms in different
fiber types and at sites that may be involved in pain generation.
- individuals 16-80 years old
- normal third molar(wisdom)teeth
- painful, diseased teeth requiring extraction
- individuals under age 16 or above age 80
- pregnant females
- nonvital painful teeth
Michael A. Henry, DDS, PhD
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX