Burning mouth syndrome as a trigeminal small fibre neuropathy: Increased heat and capsaicin receptor TRPV1 in nerve fibres correlates with pain score.
Yilmaz Z., Renton T., Yiangou Y., Zakrzewska J., Chessell IP., Bountra C., Anand P.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is often an idiopathic chronic and intractable pain condition, affecting 1.5-5.5% of middle-aged and elderly women. We have studied the heat and capsaicin receptor TRPV1, and its regulator nerve growth factor (NGF), in BMS. Patients with BMS (n=10) and controls (n=10) were assessed for baseline and post-topical capsaicin pain scores, and their tongue biopsies immunostained for TRPV1, NGF, and structural nerve markers neurofilament and peripherin. Nerve fibres penetrating the epithelium were less abundant in BMS (p<0.0001), indicating a small fibre neuropathy. TRPV1-positive fibres were overall significantly increased in BMS (p=0.0011), as were NGF fibres (p<0.0001) and basal epithelial cell NGF staining (p<0.0147). There was a significant correlation between the baseline pain score and TRPV1 (p=0.0143) and NGF fibres (p=0.0252). A significant correlation was observed between baseline and post-capsaicin pain (p=0.0006). Selective TRPV1 and NGF blockers may provide a new therapy for BMS.