Aicher Research

Sensory afferents from trigeminal tissues are critical for both homeostatic function and the perception of pain.  These functions are disrupted in a number of disease states.  Using a multi-faceted approach, the Aicher lab is currently investigating the cellular changes in corneal and gingival sensory neurons in models of Dry Eye Disease (DED) and Periodontitis (PD). 

By light, confocal and electron microscopy, are there structural and neurochemical changes in the peripheral aspects of the sensory neurons innervating the cornea during DED and gingiva during PD?

Beta-tubulin staining of a whole mount cornea:


Corneal epithelium by electron microscopy:

cornea EM pic

H&E histological staining:

Gingiva - H & E

Confocal micrographs illustrate extensive peptidergic innervation of the interdental papilla:


Using tract-tracing combined with multi-labeling immunohistochemistry, what are the changes in the trigeminal sensory neuron cell bodies and their central terminals in DED and PD?

Ganglia - dry eye project

Gingival afferents innervate and activate dorsomedial neurons of trigeminal nucleus caudalis:

Gingiva - Brainstem panels