Glia and orofacial pain: Progress and future directions

Yi Ye, Elizabeth Salvo, Marcela Romero-Reyes, Simon Akerman, Emi Shimizu, Yoshifumi Kobayashi, Benoit Michot, Jennifer Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Orofacial pain is a universal predicament, afflicting millions of individuals worldwide. Research on the molecular mechanisms of orofacial pain has predominately focused on the role of neurons underlying nociception. However, aside from neural mechanisms, non-neuronal cells, such as Schwann cells and satellite ganglion cells in the peripheral nervous system, and microglia and astrocytes in the central nervous system, are important players in both peripheral and central processing of pain in the orofacial region. This review highlights recent molecular and cellular findings of the glia involvement and glia–neuron interactions in four common orofacial pain conditions such as headache, dental pulp injury, temporomandibular joint dysfunction/inflammation, and head and neck cancer. We will discuss the remaining questions and future directions on glial involvement in these four orofacial pain conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5345
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2 2021


  • Astrocytes
  • Dental pulp injury
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Headache
  • Microglia
  • Satellite ganglia cells
  • Schwann cell
  • Toothache
  • Trigeminal ganglia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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