Trigeminal nociceptive function and oral somatosensory functional and structural assessment in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy

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This case-control study primarily compared the trigeminal nociceptive function, the intraoral somatosensory profile and possible structural nerve changes between diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN, n = 12) patients and healthy participants (n = 12). The nociceptive blink reflex (nBR) was recorded applying an electrical stimulation over the entry zone of the right supraorbital (V1R), infraorbital (V2R) and mental (V3R) and left infraorbital (V2L) nerves. The outcomes were: individual electrical sensory (I 0 ) and pain thresholds (I P ); root mean square (RMS), area-under-the-curve (AUC) and onset latencies of R2 component of the nBR. Furthermore, a standardized full battery of quantitative sensory testing (QST) and intraepidermal nerve fibre density (IENFD) or nerve fibre length density (NFLD) assessment were performed, respectively, on the distal leg and oral mucosa. As expected, all patients had altered somatosensory sensitivity and lower IENFD in the lower limb. DPN patients presented higher I 0 , I P , RMS and AUC values (p < 0.050), lower warm detection thresholds (WDT) (p = 0.004), higher occurrence of paradoxical heat sensation (PHS) (p = 0.040), and a lower intraoral NFLD (p = 0.048) than the healthy participants. In addition, the presence of any abnormal intraoral somatosensory finding was more frequent in the DPN patients when compared to the reference group (p = 0.013). Early signs of trigeminal nociceptive facilitation, intraoral somatosensory abnormalities and loss of intraoral neuronal tissue can be detected in DPN patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

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