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Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2010 Feb 18;42(1):50-5.

[Experimental occlusal interference induces the expression of protein gene products and substance P in masseter muscles of rats].

[Article in Chinese]

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Department of Prosthodontics, Peking University School and Hospital of Stomatology, Beijing 100081, China.



To investigate the peripheral mechanism by studying the histological changes of masseter muscles using HE stains and substance P (SP) and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5) immunohistochemical stains.


Fifteen male Sprague-Dawley were randomly assigned into occlusal interference group (n=12) and control group (n=3). In occlusal interference group, 0.4 mm thick crowns were bonded to the rats' first molar of the maxillary. In the control group, rats were anesthetized and mouths were forced open for about 5 min but restorations were not applied. 1, 5, 10, and 21 d after 0.4 mm occlusal alteration treatment, mechanical pain thresholds of bilateral masseter muscles were quantitatively measured by modified electronic anesthesiometer in control group and occlusal interference group. The rats were euthanized by transcardiac perfusion after deep anesthetization at different time points. The paraffin sections of masseter muscles were made and processed for HE, SP, and PGP9.5 immunohistochemical staining.


Decreased head withdrawal threshold to mechanical pressure was detected in masseter muscles on both sides following occlusal interference. Histological stains of masseter muscles presented intact following occlusal interference, and no inflammatory cells were observed in both sides. Intensely stained PGP9.5 was observed at 1 d in occlusal interference groups and maintained until the end of the experiment. SP expression was the most obviously increased at 5 d in both sides and gradually decreased to the level of control.


Experimental occlusal interference-induced masticatory muscle pain is associated with peripheral sensitization of nociceptive neurons rather than muscle damage and inflammation.

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