Human temporomandibular joint and myofascial pain biochemical profiles: A case-control study

D. L. Basi, A. M. Velly, E. L. Schiffman, P. A. Lenton, D. A. Besspiata, A. M. Rankin, P. J. Hughes, J. Q. Swift, L. J. Kehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Summary Neurobiological mechanisms of human musculoskeletal pain are poorly understood. This case-control study tested the hypothesis that biomarkers within temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders (TMJD) subjects' masseter muscles or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) synovial fluid correlate with plasma biomarker concentrations. Fifty subjects were recruited and categorized into TMJD cases (n=23) and pain-free controls (n=27) at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Prior to specimen collection, pain intensity and pressure pain threshold masseter muscles and the TMJs were assessed. We collected venous blood; biopsied masseter muscle; and sampled TMJ synovial fluid on the subjects' side of maximum pain intensity. We assayed these tissues for the presence of nerve growth factor (NGF), bradykinin (BK), leukotreine B 4 (LTB 4) and prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2), F 2-isoprostane (F 2I) and substance P (SP). The data was analyzed using Spearman Correlation Coefficients. We found that only plasma concentrations of bradykinin statistically correlated with synovial fluid concentrations (ρ=-0·48, P=0·005), but no association was found between pain intensities. The data suggests that biomarkers used to assess TMJD need to be acquired in a site-specific manner. We also discovered that F 2I concentrations were associated with muscle pain intensity and muscle pressure pain threshold (PTT) (β=0·4, 95%CI: 0·03-0·8) and joint PPT (β=0·4, 95%CI: 0·07-0·8) suggesting that muscle oxidative stress is involved in myofascial pain and that F 2-I may be a biomarker for myofascial pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-337
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomarkers
  • Case-control study
  • Human
  • Mechanical injury
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Myofascial pain
  • Neurogenic inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Temporomandibular joint

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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