Background: Inflammation and pain associated with temporomandibular joint disorder, a chronic disease that affects 15% of the adult population, involves activation of trigeminal ganglion nerves and development of peripheral and central sensitization. Natural products represent an underutilized resource in the pursuit of safe and effective ways to treat chronic inflammatory diseases. The goal of this study was to investigate effects of grape seed extract on neurons and glia in trigeminal ganglia and trigeminal nucleus caudalis in response to persistent temporomandibular joint inflammation. Sprague Dawley rats were pretreated with 200 mg/kg/d MegaNatural-BP grape seed extract for 14 days prior to bilateral injections of complete Freund's adjuvant into the temporomandibular joint capsule. Results: In response to grape seed extract, basal expression of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 1 was elevated in neurons and glia in trigeminal ganglia and trigeminal nucleus caudalis, and expression of the glutamate aspartate transporter was increased in spinal glia. Rats on a normal diet injected with adjuvant exhibited greater basal levels of phosphorylated-p38 in trigeminal ganglia neurons and spinal neurons and microglia. Similarly, immunoreactive levels of OX-42 in microglia and glial fibrillary acidic protein in astrocytes were greatly increased in response to adjuvant. However, adjuvant-stimulated levels of phosphorylated-p38, OX-42, and glial fibrillary acidic protein were significantly repressed in extract treated animals. Furthermore, grape seed extract suppressed basal expression of the neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide in spinal neurons. Conclusions: Results from our study provide evidence that grape seed extract may be beneficial as a natural therapeutic option for temporomandibular joint disorders by suppressing development of peripheral and central sensitization.


JVIC-Center for Biomedical and Life Sciences

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© 2010 The authors; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/20), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original oork is properly cited.

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Molecular Pain