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Interactions Between The Jaw-opening Reflex And Mastication.
Published 1981 · Chemistry, Medicine
Electrical stimulation of the anterior hard palate or upper lip was used to evoke the jaw-opening reflex in rabbits lightly anesthetized with urethane. The amplitude of each excitatory response recorded in the digastric electromyogram during mastication was compared with the mean amplitude of 10 prior control responses. When weak stimuli were used, the mean amplitude of the reflex dropped markedly during mastication and was smallest when the digastric muscle was inactive (closing and occlusal phases of the masticatory cycle). As the stimulus strength was increased, the size of the response during closing rose progressively until it exceeded values obtained during the control period or the jaw-opening phase. In addition, strong stimuli altered the total cycle length and the duration and amplitude of muscle activity in a phase-dependent manner. Stimuli given during closing were particularly effective in causing inhibition of jaw-closing muscle activity and in reducing the velocity and amplitude of closure. It is concluded that the cyclical gain changes of the reflex response to noxious stimuli are controlled to a large extent by premotoneuronal mechanisms and that the overall effect on the masticatory cycle structure is phase dependent.