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Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a crucial role in the modulation of orofacial pain, and we hypothesized that CGRP mediated a neuron-glia crosstalk in orofacial pain. The objective of this study was to elucidate the mechanisms whereby CGRP mediated trigeminal neuron-glia crosstalk in modulating orofacial pain. Orofacial pain was elicited by ligating closed-coil springs between incisors and molars. Trigeminal neurons and satellite glial cells (SGCs) were cultured for mechanistic exploration. Gene and protein expression were determined through immunostaining, polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot. Orofacial pain was evaluated through the rat grimace scale. Our results revealed that the expressions of CGRP were elevated in both trigeminal neurons and SGCs following the induction of orofacial pain. Intraganglionic administration of CGRP and olcegepant exacerbated and alleviated orofacial pain, respectively. The knockdown of CGRP through viral vector-mediated RNA interference was able to downregulate CGRP expressions in both neurons and SGCs and to alleviate orofacial pain. CGRP upregulated the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase through the p38 signaling pathway in cultured SGCs. In turn, L-arginine (nitric oxide donor) was able to enhance orofacial pain by upregulating CGRP expressions in vivo. In cultured trigeminal neurons, L-arginine upregulated the expression of CGRP, and this effect was diminished by cilnidipine (N-type calcium channel blocker) while not by mibefradil (L-type calcium channel blocker). In conclusion, CGRP modulated orofacial pain through upregulating the expression of nitric oxide through the p38 signaling pathway in SGCs, and the resulting nitric oxide in turn stimulated CGRP expression through N-type calcium channel in neurons, building a CGRP-mediated positive-feedback neuron-glia crosstalk.


H Liang, H Hu, D Shan, J Lyu, X Yan, Y Wang, F Jian, X Li, W Lai, H Long. CGRP Modulates Orofacial Pain through Mediating Neuron-Glia Crosstalk. Journal of dental research. 2021 Jan;100(1):98-105

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PMID: 32853530

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