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Reny de Leeuw


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been widely used to study cortical and subcortical mechanisms related to pain. The pathophysiology of burning mouth disorder (BMD) is not clearly understood. Central neuropathic mechanisms are thought to be main players in BMD. This study aimed to compare the location and extension of brain activation following thermal stimulation of the trigeminal nerve with fMRI blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) signal. This study included 8 female patients with BMD and 8 matched pain-free volunteers. Qualitative and quantitative differences in brain activation patterns between the two study groups were demonstrated. There were differences in the activation maps regarding the location of activation, with patients displaying greater BOLD signal changes in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC BA 32/24) and bilateral precuneus (pandlt;0.005). The control group showed larger BOLD signal changes in the bilateral thalamus, right middle frontal gyrus, right pre-central gyrus, left lingual gyrus and cerebellum (pandlt;0.005). It was also demonstrated that patients had far less volumetric activation throughout the entire brain compared to the control group. These data are discussed in light of recent findings suggesting brain hypofunction as a key player in chronic neuropathic pain conditions.