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Arch Oral Biol. 1982;27(10):841-5.

Contractile properties of the muscles of mastication of rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) following increase in muscle length.


The hypothesis was tested that increasing the resting length of the masseter and temporalis muscles by a bite-opening appliance with or without detachment and re-attachment of the masseter would not affect the contractile properties of these muscles. Appliances opened the bite of 10 adult female monkeys 20 mm. Five received the appliance alone (Group A); five received the appliance and in addition the masseter was detached and re-attached (Group ADR). Comparisons were made 48 weeks later. Small bundles of fibres were excised from the masseter and temporalis muscles of experimental animals and from 8 control animals. Isometric and isotonic contractile properties were measured in vitro and fibre classification and fibre areas were determined histochemically. No significant differences were observed within either masseter or temporalis muscles between animals in Groups A and ADR. In both groups, the bundles of fibres from the masseter had prolonged contraction and relaxation times compared to control masseter muscles but no difference was observed in the percentage of Type II fibres. As detachment and re-attachment had no significant effect on morphological or physiological characteristics, other than those due to lengthening, this procedure may be useful in decreasing the passive tension induced when orthognathic surgery increases muscle length. The significant prolongation of the contractile response of the masseter is similar to the adaptation induced by long-term stimulation at low frequency.

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