Persistent effects after trigeminal nerve proprioceptive stimulation by mandibular extension on rat blood pressure, heart rate and pial microcirculation

Lapi Dominga, Antonio Colantuoni, Cristina Del Seppia, Sergio Ghione, Daniele Tonlorenzi, Marcello Brunelli, Rossana Scuri


The trigemino-cardiac reflex is a brainstem reflex known to lead to a decrement in heart rate and blood pressure, whereas few data have been collected about its effects on the cerebral hemodynamic. In this study we assess the in vivo effects of trigeminal nerve peripheral stimulation by mandibular extension on pial microcirculation and systemic arterial blood pressure in rats. Experiments were performed in male Wistar rats subjected to mandibular extension obtained inserting an ad hoc developed retractor between the dental arches. Mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate were recorded and the pial arterioles were visualized by fluorescence microscopy to measure the vessel diameters before (15 minutes) during (5-15 minutes) and after (80 minutes) mandibular extension. While in control rats (sham-operated rats) and in rats subjected to the dissection of the trigeminal peripheral branches mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate and pial microcirculation did not change during the whole observation period (110 minutes), in rats submitted to mandibular extension, mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate and arteriolar diameter significantly decreased during stimulation. Afterward mean arterial blood pressure remained reduced as well as heart rate, while arteriolar diameter significantly increased evidencing a vasodilatation persisting for the whole remaining observation time. Therefore, trigeminal nerve proprioceptive stimulation appears to trigger specific mechanisms regulating systemic arterial blood pressure and pial microcirculation.


Mandibular Stretching; Trigeminal Nerve; Pial Circulation; Systemic Arterial Pressure

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