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Role of Nerve Growth Factor in Orofacial Pain

Authors Mai L, Huang F, Zhu X, He H, Fan W

Received 16 February 2020

Accepted for publication 6 July 2020

Published 24 July 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1875—1882


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael A Überall

Lijia Mai,1,2 Fang Huang,2 Xiao Zhu,3 Hongwen He,2 Wenguo Fan1,2

1Department of Anesthesiology, Guanghua School of Stomatology, Hospital of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, People’s Republic of China; 2Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Guangzhou, 510080, People’s Republic of China; 3The Marine Biomedical Research Institute, Guangdong Medical University, Zhanjiang 524023, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Wenguo Fan
Department of Anesthesiology, Guanghua School of Stomatology, Hospital of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, No. 74 Zhongshan Road 2, Guangzhou 510080, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Some chronic pain conditions in the orofacial region are common and the mechanisms underlying orofacial pain are unresolved. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a member of a family of neurotrophins and regulates the growth, maintenance and development of neurons. Increasing evidence suggests that NGF plays a crucial role in the generation of pain and hyperalgesia in different pain states. This review investigates the role of NGF in orofacial pain and their underlying cellular mechanisms, which may provide essential guidance to drug-discovery programmes. A systemic literature search was conducted in Pubmed focusing on NGF and orofacial pain. Articles were reviewed, and those discussing in vitro studies, animal evidence, clinical course, and possible mechanisms were summarized. We found a hyperalgesic effect of NGF in peripheral sensitization in orofacial pain models. We also summarize the current knowledge regarding NGF-dependent pain mechanism, which is initiated by retrograde transport of the ligand-receptor complex, ensuing transcriptional regulation of many important nociceptor genes involved in nociceptive processing. Phase III trials suggest that anti-NGF drug is endorsed with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects with good tolerance in a variety of pain conditions, including pain associated with osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain. Based on the data reviewed herein, NGF is believed to be an important hyperalgesic mediator in orofacial pain. The identification of underlying mechanisms and pathways of orofacial pain opens new frontiers for pain management.

Keywords: nerve growth factor, orofacial region, pain, tyrosine receptor kinases A, mechanisms

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