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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effects of capsaicin on pulpal blood flow.

One of the initial events in pulpal inflammation has been characterized as neurogenic inflammation: the release of neuropeptides following excitation of sensory C-fibers by noxious stimuli which alters microcirculatory parameters, that is, vasodilation and plasma extravasation. Thus, the purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of capsaicin on pulpal blood flow (PBF) with the aim of understanding neurogenic inflammation in the dental pulp by characterizing the response of the pulpal vasculature to repeated applications of various concentrations of capsaicin. Experiments were performed on canine teeth of cats anesthetized with sodium pentobarbital. PBF was measured by the laser Doppler flowmeter following the application of capsaicin into the dentinal cavities of the canine teeth. The increases of PBF to capsaicin were 31.8 +/- 6.3% (n = 6) and 54.2 +/- 6.2% (n = 9), for 1 microM and 100 microM capsaicin, respectively. The increase of PBF peaked at about 50 sec after the capsaicin placement and the PBF returned to control level within 20 min following capsaicin removal. Four repeated applications of 1 microM capsaicin caused a small change in the peak PBF amplitude. In contrast, a second application of 100 microM capsaicin caused a significantly smaller increase of PBF than the first application (26.8 +/- 6.4% vs. 54.2 +/- 6.2%). Results of the present study show that local application of capsaicin caused the increase of PBF and that repeated capsaicin stimulations inhibited PBF responses. Smaller PBF increases in response to high concentrations of capsaicin also suggested the depletion of vasoactive substances, e.g. substance P, from the sensory nerve terminals, which appears to be dose-dependent. The PBF response to capsaicin suggests that neurogenic inflammation in the dental pulp involves capsaicin-sensitive nerve endings.[1]


  1. The effects of capsaicin on pulpal blood flow. Liu, M., Pertl, C., Markowitz, K., Dörscher-Kim, J., Kim, S. Proceedings of the Finnish Dental Society. Suomen Hammaslääkäriseuran toimituksia. (1992) [Pubmed]
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