In rat models, the pain never came back after stem cell injection. But in the untreated group, the pain lasted up to 22 weeks, or the length of the experimental period.
Researchers simulated two types of pain: myogenic pain (by ligating, or tying up, the masticatory muscle tendon) and neuropathic pain (by tying up the nerve on the face). Stem cells successfully reduced pain in both cases.
The next step is a clinical trial to treat recalcitrant orofacial pain.
Researchers also found that this pain suppression is in part mediated through the endogenous opioid system operated centrally (in the brain) and peripherally (at the injured site). Further mechanisms to explain how this works are now under investigation.
Associate Professor of Endodontics Dr. George Huang worked on the study with Dr. Ke Ren, professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Read the abstract online.
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