Burning mouth syndrome and mast cell activation disorder

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2011 Apr;111(4):465-72. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2010.11.030.


Burning mouth syndrome (BMS), a chronic diffuse oral pain syndrome affecting ∼1% of the general population, is diagnosed when explanatory oral pathology and other identifiable causes are absent. BMS has been recognized for decades, but its etiology remains unknown and has not previously been attributed to mast cell disease. Three cases of BMS are reported in which evidence of an underlying mast cell activation disorder (MCAD) was found; all 3 patients' oral pain responded well to MCAD-directed therapy. Mediators released from mast cells have a wide range of local and remote effects and potentially may cause the neuropathic changes and/or inflammation thought to lead to the symptoms of BMS. Mast cell disease either in oral tissue or at sites remote from the mouth should be considered in the differential diagnosis of BMS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / etiology*
  • Female
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / complications*
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / drug therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Stem Cell Factor / biosynthesis
  • Stem Cell Factor / genetics


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists
  • Stem Cell Factor