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Trigeminal motoneuron responses to vestibular stimulation in the guinea pig.

E. Tolu, M. A. Caria, G. Chessa, F. Melis, M. E. Simula, M. V. Podda, A. Solinas, F. Deriu


Experiments performed in the guinea pig were aimed at evaluating the effect of electric or caloric stimulations of the vestibular afferents on the electrical activity of the jaw-closing and jaw-opening trigeminal motoneurons. Results showed that masseter and digastric motoneurons mainly responded to vestibular ampullar activation with excitatory responses, with latencies being shorter for contralateral than ipsilateral ampullar stimulation. Differences in latencies between the jaw-closing and jaw-opening trigeminal motoneurons were observed: the masseter motoneurons constantly responded about 2 msec earlier than the digastric motoneurons. These results suggest that the vestibular-trigeminal relationship is quite complex and uses multiple systems to connect the vestibular apparatus with the trigeminal motor nuclei. From the functional point of view, the vestibular-trigeminal relationship may play a role in the dynamic control of the jaw muscle tone during head movements.

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