The orotrigeminal system

Amanda H. Klein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


The trigeminal sensory nerve fiber branches supply afferent information from the skin and mucous membranes of the face and head and the oral cavity regarding information on temperature, touch, and pain. Under normal conditions, the trigeminal nerve serves to provide important information from nerve fibers and tissues using specialized receptors sensitive for irritant and painful stimuli. The current scientific consensus indicates that nerve endings responsible for chemical and thermal sensitivity of the skin and mucous membranes are the same nerves responsible for nociception. This “chemesthetic sense” allows many vertebrates to detect chemical agonists that induce sensations such as touch, burning, stinging, tingling, or changes in temperature. Research has been under way for many years to determine how exposure of the oral and/or nasal cavity to compounds that elicit pungent or irritant sensations can produce these sensations. In addition, these chemicals can alter other sensory information such as taste and smell to affect the flavor of foods and beverages. We now know that these ‘chemesthetic molecules’ are agonists of molecular receptors, which exist on primary afferent nerve fibers that innervate the orofacial area. However, under pathophysiologic conditions, over- or underexpression or activity of these receptors may lead to painful orotrigeminal syndromes. Some of these individual receptors are discussed in detail, including transient receptor potential channels and acid sensing ion channels, among others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameHandbook of clinical neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Chemesthesis
  • Irritation
  • Orofacial
  • Pain
  • Smell
  • Taste
  • Trigeminal nerve


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