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Suckling is a rhythmic jaw movement that is symmetrical on the left and right side and is highly coordinated with tongue movement. Thus, we investigated the neuronal mechanisms of the left/right and jaw/tongue coordinations during N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-induced fictive suckling using isolated brainstem-spinal cord preparations obtained from neonatal mice. We observed synchronous low-frequency rhythmic activity in the left/right trigeminal motor nerves, which differed from respiration, and high-frequency rhythmic trigeminal activity, which was side-independent. The low-frequency rhythmic trigeminal activity was also synchronized with the hypoglossal nerve activity. After a complete midline separation of the preparation or a partial midline transection of the brainstem from the anterior inferior cerebellar artery to the junction of the vertebral artery, the low-frequency rhythmic trigeminal activity disappeared, whereas the high-frequency rhythmic trigeminal activity and low-frequency rhythmic hypoglossal activity still remained. These results suggest that the neuronal network that generates low-frequency rhythmic activity likely contributes to the synchronized activity of the left/right jaw muscles and to the jaw/tongue muscles, where it sends its command to the trigeminal motoneurons mainly via the commissural pathway that crosses the transected midline region. Such a neuronal network may underlie the coordinated movements of the jaw and tongue during suckling. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society. All rights reserved.


Yoshiaki Ihara, Kiyomi Nakayama, Shiro Nakamura, Ayako Mochizuki, Koji Takahashi, Tomio Inoue. Coordination of NMDA-induced rhythmic activity in the trigeminal and hypoglossal nerves of neonatal mice in vitro. Neuroscience research. 2013 Feb;75(2):138-49

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PMID: 23183355

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