Posterior Insular Molecular Changes in Myofascial Pain

G. E. Gerstner, R. H. Gracely, A. Deebajah, E. Ichesco, A. Quintero, D. J. Clauw, Pia Sundgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (SciVal)


Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) include craniocervical pain conditions with unclear etiologies. Central changes are suspected; however, few neuroimaging studies of TMD exist. Single-voxel proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H-1-MRS) was used before and after pressure-pain testing to assess glutamate (Glu), glutamine (Gln), N-acetylaspartate (NAA), and choline (Cho) levels in the right and left posterior insulae of 11 individuals with myofascial TMD and 11 matched control individuals. Glu levels were significantly lower in all individuals after pain testing. Among those with TMD, left-insular Gln levels were related to reported pain, left posterior insular NAA and Cho levels were significantly higher at baseline than in control individuals, and NAA levels were significantly correlated with pain-symptom duration, suggesting adaptive changes. The results suggest that significant central cellular and molecular changes can occur in individuals with TMD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-490
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Dentistry


  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • temporomandibular disorders
  • N-acetyl
  • aspartate
  • choline
  • glutamate
  • glutamine


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