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Brain Res. 2004 Mar 19;1001(1-2):22-36.

Activity of peri-oral facial muscles and its coordination with jaw muscles during ingestive behavior in awake rabbits.

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Division of Oral Physiology, Department of Oral Biological Science, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, 2-5274 Gakkocho-dori, Niigata 951-8514, Japan.


To study peri-oral facial muscle activity patterns and coordination with jaw muscles during ingestive behavior, electromyographic (EMG) activities in the peri-oral facial (buccinator: BUC, orbicularis oris: ORB) and jaw (masseter, digastric) muscles along with jaw movement trajectories were recorded in awake rabbits. A standardized amount of apple in a cylindrical shape was used as the test food. The period from food intake to just before swallowing (the masticatory sequence) was divided into three masticatory periods (preparatory period, rhythmic chewing period and preswallow period) based on the activity pattern of jaw muscles and jaw movement trajectories, and jaw movements and EMG activities in both the jaw and facial muscles during each masticatory period were assessed. Both the jaw and facial muscles were active throughout the masticatory sequence, and the activity patterns of facial muscles and the pattern of coordination between the facial and jaw muscles varied for each masticatory period. No consistent pattern was noted for the BUC activity during the preparatory period, whereas the ORB showed tonic activity throughout this period. During the rhythmic chewing and preswallow periods, both the ORB and BUC showed jaw-movement-related rhythmic bursts. However, significant differences were noted in the burst properties in both facial muscles and their temporal correlations with the jaw muscle activities between these two periods. Results suggest that the neural mechanisms regulating facial muscle activities may differ between the masticatory periods, and such mechanisms may contribute to the well-coordinated orofacial movements required for smooth masticatory sequence.

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