The response properties of incisor- and molar-sensitive periodontal mechanosensitive (PM) neurones in the primary somatosensory (SI) cortex of rabbits were examined and rhythmical jaw movements induced by repetitive electrical stimulation of the recording sites of cortical PM neurones were observed. PM units were recorded from the rostromedial (RM) and rostrolateral (RL) areas of the SI cortex. In the RM area, most PMs (85%) were lower incisor-sensitive. Electrical stimulation of the RM area produced chopping-type rhythmical jaw movements. In the RL area, both incisor- and molar-sensitive PM units were recorded, and molar-sensitive units were located more rostromedially than incisor-sensitive units. More than half (66%) of the incisor-sensitive PM units were upper incisor-sensitive. The incidences of sustained-response type units were 8 and 10% for upper incisor- and lower incisor-sensitive units and 28 and 34% for upper molar- and lower molar-sensitive units, respectively. The optimal stimulus directions for the upper molar-sensitive units were predominantly labial or lingual, whereas those for most of the lower molar-sensitive units were lingual. Electrical stimulation of the PM unit-recording sites in the RL area induced grinding-type rhythmical jaw movements. Based on these findings, the lower incisor-sensitive neurones in the RM area of the SI cortex might mainly contribute to a neural network that controls jaw movements during ingestion. Furthermore, the response properties of molar-sensitive cortical neurones might be useful for discriminating the magnitude and direction of the biting force during grinding. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of upper incisor-sensitive neurones in the RL area in triggering grinding-type rhythmical jaw movements.
- Cortically induced rhythmical jaw movements
- Periodontal mechanosensitive neurone
- Primary somatosensory cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology