European Radiology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 807–815

Insula-specific responses induced by dental pain. A proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

  • A. Gutzeit
  • D. Meier
  • M. L. Meier
  • C. von Weymarn
  • D. A. Ettlin
  • N. Graf
  • J. M. Froehlich
  • C. A. Binkert
  • M. Brügger
Magnetic Resonance

DOI: 10.1007/s00330-010-1971-8

Cite this article as:
Gutzeit, A., Meier, D., Meier, M.L. et al. Eur Radiol (2011) 21: 807. doi:10.1007/s00330-010-1971-8

Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate whether induced dental pain leads to quantitative changes in brain metabolites within the left insular cortex after stimulation of the right maxillary canine and to examine whether these metabolic changes and the subjective pain intensity perception correlate.

Methods

Ten male volunteers were included in the pain group and compared with a control group of 10 other healthy volunteers. The pain group received a total of 87–92 electrically induced pain stimuli over 15 min to the right maxillary canine tooth. Contemporaneously, they evaluated the subjective pain intensity of every stimulus using an analogue scale. Neurotransmitter changes within the left insular cortex were evaluated by MR spectroscopy.

Results

Significant metabolic changes in glutamine (+55.1%), glutamine/glutamate (+16.4%) and myo-inositol (−9.7%) were documented during pain stimulation. Furthermore, there was a significant negative correlation between the subjective pain intensity perception and the metabolic levels of Glx, Gln, glutamate and N-acetyl aspartate.

Conclusion

The insular cortex is a metabolically active region in the processing of acute dental pain. Induced dental pain leads to quantitative changes in brain metabolites within the left insular cortex resulting in significant alterations in metabolites. Negative correlation between subjective pain intensity rating and specific metabolites could be observed.

Keywords

Dental stimulationTrigeminal painProton MR spectroscopyInsular cortexPain-rating

Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Gutzeit
    • 1
  • D. Meier
    • 2
  • M. L. Meier
    • 3
  • C. von Weymarn
    • 1
  • D. A. Ettlin
    • 4
  • N. Graf
    • 5
  • J. M. Froehlich
    • 1
  • C. A. Binkert
    • 1
  • M. Brügger
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyCantonal Hospital WinterthurWinterthurSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Biomedical EngineeringUniversity and ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Psychology, Division NeuropsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Center for Dental and Oral Medicine and Cranio-maxillofacial Surgery, Clinic for Removable Prosthodontics, Masticatory Disorders and Special Care DentistryUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Clinical Trials Center, Center for Clinical ResearchUniversity Hospital of ZurichZurichSwitzerland