Polymorphic variants in genes related to stress coping are associated with the awake bruxism

BMC Oral Health. 2021 Oct 5;21(1):496. doi: 10.1186/s12903-021-01844-1.


Background: Chronic stress is one of the leading predisposing factors in bruxism aetiology, but the influence of genetic factors is also suggested. We aimed to study whether sequence variants in genes involved in stress regulation pathways: NTRK2 and BDNF, may be associated with awake bruxism susceptibility, clinical presentation, and patients' perceived stress level.

Methods: The study group included 104 patients with probable awake bruxism and 191 population controls. Patients underwent dental examination concerning the symptoms of bruxism and psychological testing. Genotyping was performed using HRMA and sequencing. Statistical analyses were conducted, and P values below 0.05 were considered statistically significant.

Results: We observed a positive correlation of measured stress level and pathological teeth attrition in the anterior segment (r = 0.45, P < 0.001), enamel attritions (r = 0.44, P < 0.001), tongue impressions (r = 0.50, P < 0.001) and posterior teeth attrition (r = 0.27, P = 0.005). Moreover, the c.196A variant (p.66Met) of the BDNF gene and c.1397-31392G allele of the NTRK2 gene were present with elevated frequency, comparing to controls.

Conclusions: This study hence the thesis that perceived stress level is a substantial contributing factor to awake bruxism occurrence and its clinical manifestations. Moreover, sequence variants in genes related to stress coping may be correlated with awake bruxism's susceptibility via elevated perceived stress level.

Keywords: Association analysis; Awake bruxism; BDNF gene; NTRK2 gene; Stress coping; Susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Alleles
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / genetics*
  • Bruxism* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Receptor, trkB / genetics*
  • Tooth Attrition*
  • Wakefulness


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • BDNF protein, human
  • Receptor, trkB
  • tropomyosin-related kinase-B, human