The aim of this study was to investigate if serotonin is present in the human masseter muscle and if so, whether it is involved in the modulation of local muscle pain or allodynia. Thirty-five patients with pain and tenderness of the masseter muscle as well as ten healthy individuals were included in the study. Of the patients, 18 suffered from fibromyalgia and 17 had localized myalgia, e.g. myofascial pain in the temporomandibular system. The participants were examined clinically with special consideration to the masseter muscle and the pressure pain threshold as well as tolerance levels of this muscle were assessed.
Intramuscular microdialysis was performed in order to sample serotonin and a venous blood sample was collected for analysis of the serum level of serotonin. Serotonin was present in the masseter muscle and the level was significantly higher in the initial sample than in the sample collected during steady state. The level of serotonin in the masseter muscle in relation to the level of serotonin in the blood serum was calculated. This fraction of serotonin was higher in the patients with fibromyalgia than in healthy individuals and high level of serotonin was associated with pain as well as allodynia of the masseter muscle.
In conclusion, the results of this study show that serotonin is present in the human masseter muscle both immediately following puncture and in a subsequent steady state and that it is associated with pain and allodynia. The origin of the serotonin seems partly to be the blood, but our results indicate that peripheral release also occurs.
Ernberg M, Hedenberg-Magnusson B, Alstergren P, Kopp S