The somatotopic organization of the human primary somatosensory (SI) area in the cerebral cortex has been intensively studied for the hand, lip, and tongue, but little is known about the gingiva. Penfield concluded that the gingival SI area was above the tongue area, as shown in his famous homunculus map. However, our recent study suggested that the lingual gingiva area was not so different to the tongue area. To delineate the fine SI somatotopy of the gingiva area, evoked magnetic fields were measured in 6 healthy subjects for the stimulus of the anterior or posterior and upper or lower parts of the lip, buccal and lingual gingiva, and tongue. Source position was estimated by a current dipole model at the first peak of the posterior-oriented current in a total of 12 cerebral hemispheres contralateral to the stimulation side. No significant difference was found between the positions of anterior and posterior or upper and lower parts of each structure. Both buccal and lingual gingiva areas were localized adjacent to the tongue area, but significantly lower than the lip area. We believe that the fine SI somatotopy of the human oral structures should be reconsidered.
- Somatosensory cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)