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J Dent Res. 2012 Sep;91(9):888-93. doi: 10.1177/0022034512453724. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Convergent pre-motoneuronal inputs to single trigeminal motoneurons.

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  • 1Department of Oral Anesthesia, Showa University School of Dentistry, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142-8555, Japan.


Because pre-motor neurons targeting trigeminal motoneurons are located in various regions, including the supratrigeminal (SupV) and intertrigeminal (IntV) regions, the principal sensory trigeminal nucleus (PrV), and the region dorsal to the PrV (dRt), a single trigeminal motoneuron may receive differential convergent inputs from these regions. We thus examined the properties of synaptic inputs from these regions to masseter motoneurons (MMNs) and digastric motoneurons (DMNs) in brainstem slice preparations obtained from P1-5 neonatal rats, using whole-cell recordings and laser photolysis of caged glutamate. Photostimulation of multiple regions within the SupV, IntV, PrV, and dRt induced post-synaptic currents (PSCs) in 14 of 19 MMNs and 18 of 26 DMNs. Furthermore, the stimulation of the lateral SupV significantly induced burst PSCs in MMNs more often than low-frequency PSCs in MMNs or burst PSCs in DMNs. Similar results were obtained in the presence of the GABA(A) receptor antagonist SR95531 and the glycine receptor antagonist strychnine. These results suggest that both neonatal MMNs and DMNs receive convergent glutamatergic inputs from the SupV, IntV, PrV, and dRt, and that the lateral SupV sends burst inputs predominantly to the MMNs. Such convergent pre-motoneuronal inputs to trigeminal motoneurons may contribute to the proper execution of neonatal oro-motor functions.

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