Modulation of Masseteric Reflexes by Simulated Mastication

Discipline of Physiology & Research Centre for Human Movement Control, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide, Australia.
Journal of dental research (Impact Factor: 4.14). 12/2009; 89(1):61-5. DOI: 10.1177/0022034509352842
Source: PubMed


It is well-known that limb muscle reflexes are modulated during human movements. However, little is known about the existence of equivalent masticatory muscle reflex modulation. We hypothesized that masticatory reflexes would be modulated during chewing so that smooth masticatory movements occur. To examine this hypothesis, we studied the modulation of inhibitory reflexes evoked by periodontal mechanoreceptor activation and of excitatory reflexes evoked by muscle spindle activation during simulated mastication. In 28 participants, 1- and 2-N mechanical taps were delivered to the incisor. Reflex responses to these taps were examined in the average masseteric electromyogram. To differentiate between periodontal mechanoreceptor- and muscle-spindle-mediated reflex components, we performed experiments prior to, and in the presence of, periodontal anesthesia. Both periodontal mechanoreceptor and muscle spindle reflexes were reduced during simulated masticatory movements.

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