The Mammalian Brainstem Chewing Circuitry

Arlette Kolta and James P. Lund

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
The Mammalian Brainstem Chewing Circuitry

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Chewing is an essential function that requires coordination of tongue and several oro-facial muscles. The basic repetitive pattern of movements produced during chewing is programmed by a central pattern generator (CPG) located in the brainstem. This chapter reviews the sensory and cortical inputs to this CPG, its outputs to trigeminal motoneurons and interneurons and the synaptic organization of the elements that compose it. Some of these elements have intrinsic properties that rely on a sodium persistent current (INaP) to generate a recurrent bursting firing pattern that may be at the basis of the rhythmic motor output. However, the pattern of movements produced during mastication is highly variable from cycle to cycle. A functional model is proposed to account for this variability through interactions between sensory inputs, changes in the extracellular calcium concentration and these rhythmogenic properties.

Chapter.  3387 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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