Periodontal afferent inputs
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in several cognitive functions, such as planning, decision making, and social behavior. We previously reported that periodontal sensory input significantly increases PFC activity during the motor task of maintaining occlusal (biting) force. However, the relationships between periodontal sensation, PFC activity, and the performance of motor tasks, have not been evaluated in detail. Therefore, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy, we investigated PFC activity by monitoring changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) to specific areas of the PFC that corresponded to changes in occlusal force generated during 4 different biting tasks: 1) occlusion with the central incisor with an interocclusal distance of 5 mm (BI-5 mm); or 2) 10 mm (BI-10 mm); 3) occlusion with the first molars with an interocclusal distance of 5 mm (BM-5 mm), or 4) 10 mm (BM-10 mm). Occlusion of molars generated increased PFC regional CBF as the interocclusal distance decreased (BM-10 mm vs BM-5 mm). No significant differences in CBF during occlusion of incisors were found when comparing 5 mm and 10 mm intercostal distances (BI-5 mm vs BI-10 mm). The mean occlusal force generated by BM-5 mm occlusion was significantly lower than that generated by BM-10 mm occlusion. Taken together, our results suggest that the PFC decreases efferent signaling to motor units, to reduce occlusal force generated when periodontal sensation, which is greater when the interocclusal distance is reduced, is primarily responsible for maintaining occlusal force in the absence of sensations from the temporomandibular joint and muscle spindles.
Experimental Brain Research
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Experimental Brain Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-019-05630-y
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