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A relationship between bruxism and orofacial-dystonia? A trigeminal electrophysiological approach in a case report of pineal cavernoma

Gianni Frisardi, Cesare Iani, Gianfranco Sau, Flavio Frisardi, Carlo Leornadis, Aurea Lumbau, Paolo Enrico, Donatella Sirca, Enrico Maria Staderini, Giacomo Chessa
Behavioral and Brain Functions: BBF 2013 October 28, 9: 41
24165294

BACKGROUND: In some clinical cases, bruxism may be correlated to central nervous system hyperexcitability, suggesting that bruxism may represent a subclinical form of dystonia. To examine this hypothesis, we performed an electrophysiological evaluation of the excitability of the trigeminal nervous system in a patient affected by pineal cavernoma with pain symptoms in the orofacial region and pronounced bruxism.

METHODS: Electrophysiological studies included bilateral electrical transcranial stimulation of the trigeminal roots, analysis of the jaw jerk reflex, recovery cycle of masseter inhibitory reflex, and a magnetic resonance imaging study of the brain.

RESULTS: The neuromuscular responses of the left- and right-side bilateral trigeminal motor potentials showed a high degree of symmetry in latency (1.92 ms and 1.96 ms, respectively) and amplitude (11 mV and 11.4 mV, respectively), whereas the jaw jerk reflex amplitude of the right and left masseters was 5.1 mV and 8.9 mV, respectively. The test stimulus for the recovery cycle of masseter inhibitory reflex evoked both silent periods at an interstimulus interval of 150 ms. The duration of the second silent period evoked by the test stimulus was 61 ms and 54 ms on the right and left masseters, respectively, which was greater than that evoked by the conditioning stimulus (39 ms and 35 ms, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence of activation and peripheral sensitization of the nociceptive fibers, the primary and secondary nociceptive neurons in the central nervous system, and the endogenous pain control systems (including both the inhibitory and facilitatory processes), in the tested subject. These data suggest that bruxism and central orofacial pain can coexist, but are two independent symptoms, which may explain why numerous experimental and clinical studies fail to reach unequivocal conclusions.

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