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We examined the neural mechanisms for increases in regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in the neocortex associated with mastication, focusing on the cortical vasodilative system derived from the nucleus basalis of Meynert (NBM). In pentobarbital-anesthetized rats, parietal cortical rCBF was recorded simultaneously with electromyogram (EMG) of jaw muscles, local field potentials of frontal cortex, multi-unit activity of NBM neurons, and systemic mean arterial pressure (MAP). When spontaneous rhythmic EMG activity was observed with cortical desynchronization, an increase in NBM activity and a marked rCBF increase independent of MAP changes were observed. A similar rCBF increase was elicited by repetitive electrical stimulation of unilateral cortical masticatory areas. The magnitude of rCBF increase was partially attenuated by administration of the GABAergic agonist muscimol into the NBM. The rCBF increase persisted after immobilization with systemic muscle relaxant (vecuronium). rCBF did not change when jaw muscle activity was induced by electrical stimulation of the pyramidal tract. The results suggest that activation of NBM vasodilator neurons contributes at least in part to the rCBF increase associated with masticatory muscle activity, and that the NBM activation is induced by central commands from the motor cortex, independently of feedback from brainstem central pattern generator or contracting muscles.


Harumi Hotta, Harue Suzuki, Tomio Inoue, Mark Stewart. Involvement of the basal nucleus of Meynert on regional cerebral cortical vasodilation associated with masticatory muscle activity in rats. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism : official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 2020 Dec;40(12):2416-2428

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PMID: 31847668

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