Craniofacial neurobiology – Kaj Fried group

Our objective is to identify genetic factors affecting trigeminal pain syndromes, with emphasis on orofacial conditions. This may open new ways of understanding the functional relationship between nociceptors and their surrounding tissue, and be helpful in search for better therapies against dental pain.

Research focus

Craniofacial neuropathic pain

Chronic pain in the craniofacial region (“trigeminal chronic pain”) is a common medical problem that is difficult to treat; currently available remedies are compromised by side effects and offer only partial pain relief. Like other chronic pain syndromes, trigeminal pain is a complex genetic trait; analyses of human and animal models indicate that ~50% of the inter-individual differences in neuropathic pain levels are genetically controlled.

Our objective is to identify genetic factors affecting trigeminal pain syndromes, with emphasis on orofacial conditions. This may open new ways of understanding the functional relationship between nociceptors and their surrounding tissue, and be helpful in search for better therapies against dental pain.

The role of the peripheral innervation in the formation of teeth

From an evolutionary standpoint, teeth are essential for both feeding and fending. Teeth develop through very complex mechanisms through coordinated actions between neural crest stem cells and the ectoderm of a brachial arch. They consist of a hard matrix and matrix producing cells (odontoblasts), pulp cells, vessels and a protective sensory innervation with adjacent glia. Available evidence has suggested that the developmental growth and establishment of sensory pain-transmitting nerve terminals in relation to teeth are controlled by local molecular signals. We address the role of a sensory nerve as a provider of tooth stem cells during the development, adulthood and in regeneration. We use genetic tracing with multicolor reporters, transgenic mice with cell type-specific modifications in signaling, microsurgery and grafting, in vitro cell cultures and 3D-imaging.

Illustration of Kaj Fried research focus
Schwann cell precursors from nerve give rise to dental mesenchymal stem cells in the adult incisor tooth. Adult traced adult PLP-CreERT2/R26Confetti incisor with streams of YFP+ and RFP+ pulp cells spatially connected to YFP+ and RFP+ clusters of odontoblasts (upper left, frame magnified in upper right). Below left: Streams of pulp cells (arrows) initiated in proximity to the cervical loop. Yellow and red isosurfaces generated around YFP+ and RFP+ cells. The progenies of individual mesenchymal stems cells intermingle with neighboring clones in the pulp (below, middle) and in odontoblast layer (below, right). (From Kaukua et al, 2014)

Publications

Selected publications

Staff and contact

Group leader

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Contact and visit us

Contact information for the Lallemend Laboratory at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

Postal address

Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet, SE-171 77 Stockholm

Visiting address (visitors, couriers, etc.)

Karolinska Institutet, Biomedicum, D6
Solnavägen 9, SE-171 65 Solna

Delivery address (goods, parcels, etc.)

Tomtebodavägen 16, SE-171 65 Solna

Karolinska Institutet, Biomedicum, Solnavägen 9