The journal of headache and pain

Serotonin, glutamate and glycerol are released after the injection of hypertonic saline into human masseter muscles - a microdialysis study.

PMID 25519464


Chronic myalgia is associated with higher muscle levels of certain algesic biomarkers. The aim of this study was to investigate if hypertonic saline-induced jaw myalgia also leads to release of such biomarkers and if there were any sex differences in this respect. Healthy participants, 15 men and 15 aged-matched women (25.7 ± 4.3 years) participated. Intramuscular microdialysis into masseter muscles was performed to sample serotonin (5-HT), glutamate, lactate, pyruvate, glucose and glycerol. After 2 hours 0.2 mL hypertonic saline (58.5 mg/mL) was injected into the masseter on one side and 0.2 mL isotonic saline (9 mg/mL) into the contralateral masseter close to the microdialysis catheter. Microdialysis continued for 1 hour after the injections. Pressure pain thresholds (PPT) and pain were assessed before and after injections. The median (IQR) peak pain intensity (0-100 visual analogue scale) after hypertonic saline was 52.5 (38.0) and after isotonic saline 7.5 (24.0) (p < 0.05). 5-HT, glutamate and glycerol increased after hypertonic saline injection (p < 0.05). Lactate, pyruvate and glucose showed no change. PPT after microdialysis was reduced on both sides (p < 0.05) but without side differences. Pain after hypertonic saline injection correlated positively to 5-HT (p < 0.05) and negatively to glycerol (p < 0.05). 5-HT, glutamate and glycerol increased after a painful hypertonic saline injection into the masseter muscle, but without sex differences. Since increased levels of 5-HT and glutamate have been reported in chronic myalgia, this strengthens the validity of the pain model. Glycerol warrants further investigations.