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Localization Of Central Rhythm Generator Involved In Cortically Induced Rhythmical Masticatory Jaw-opening Movement In The Guinea Pig

S. Nozaki, A. Iriki, Y. Nakamura

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The location of the central rhythm generator involved in the cortically induced rhythmical masticatory jaw-opening movement was studied in the ketamine-anesthetized guinea pig. These studies show that a population of neurons is activated by a nonrhythmical input from the cortical masticatory area (CMA) and produces a rhythmical output to the trigeminal motoneurons innervating the jaw-opening muscles. Repetitive stimulation (30 Hz) of the pyramidal tract (PT) rostral to the middle level of the medulla oblongata, in the animal with a precollicular transection as well as with an intact neuraxis, induced a rhythmical reciprocal EMG activity in the anterior digastric and masseter muscles. The rhythmical activity could be monitored by a rhythmical burst in the efferent discharge in the mylohyoid nerve innervating the anterior digastric muscle. Essentially the same pattern was observed when stimulating the PT as that induced by repetitive stimulation of the CMA. The rhythmical efferent burst in the mylohyoid nerve could still be induced after paralyzing the animal. Repetitive PT stimulation in the isolated brain stem after precollicular and bulbospinal transections induced a rhythmical pattern in the anterior digastric EMG and an efferent activity in the mylohyoid nerve. The rhythmical mylohyoid nerve burst could be induced after paralyzing the animal. After section of the medial part of the brain stem at the pontobulbar junction, including the PT, repetitive PT stimulation at the pontine level did not induce any masticatory activity either in the digastric EMG or in the efferent discharge in the mylohyoid nerve, while stimulation at the rostral bulbar level still induced a rhythmicity that was essentially the same pattern as before the section. By testing the effects of total and partial transections of the brain stem in coronal and sagittal planes at various locations, we found that the medial bulbar reticular formation, the lateral pons including the trigeminal motor nucleus and nerve, and the reticulotrigeminal motoneuronal pathways composed the minimum structures that must be left intact to induce a rhythmicity in the anterior digastric EMG and the efferent discharge in the mylohyoid nerve by repetitively stimulating the PT. Repetitive PT stimulation induced a field potential in the medial bulbar reticular formation, which periodically fluctuated in the masticatory rhythm coincident with the rhythmical activity in the digastric EMG. This fluctuation persisted in the same rhythm after paralysis of the animal.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)