Pulp Sensitivity: Influence of Sex, Psychosocial Variables, COMT Gene, and Chronic Facial Pain

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations of variability in pulp sensitivity with sex, psychosocial variables, the gene that encodes for the enzyme catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), and chronic painful conditions (temporomandibular disorders [TMDs]). Methods: The study was composed of 97 subjects (68 women and 29 men aged 20–44 years). The electric (electric pulp tester) and cold (refrigerant spray) stimuli were performed on mandibular lateral incisors. The results were expressed as pain threshold values for electric pulp stimulation (0–80 units) and as pain intensity scores (visual numeric scale from 0–10) for cold stimulation. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for TMD were used to assess TMD, depression, and somatization. DNA extracted from peripheral blood was genotyped for 3 COMT polymorphisms (rs4680, rs6269, and rs165774) using the real-time TaqMan method. Multivariate linear regression was used to investigate the joint effect of the predictor variables (clinical and genetic) on pulp sensitivity (dependent variables). Results: Threshold responses to electric stimuli were related to female sex (P < .01) and the homozygous GG genotype for the rs165774 polymorphism (P < .05). Pain intensity to cold stimuli was higher in TMD patients (P < .01) and tended to be higher in women. Multivariate linear regression identified sex and the rs165774 COMT polymorphism as the determinants of electric pain sensitivity, whereas TMD accounts for the variability in the cold response. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that sex/a COMT gene variant and TMD as a chronic painful condition may contribute to individual variation in electric and cold pulp sensitivity, respectively. (J Endod 2018;44:717–721)
Кључне речи
Catechol-O-methyltransferase, chronic pain, dental pulp tests, pulp sensitivity, sex