Combination of jaw and tongue movement training influences neuroplasticity of corticomotor pathways in humans.


Division of Oral Function and Rehabilitation, Department of Oral Health Science, Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo, 2-870-1, Sakaecho-nishi, Matsudo, Chiba, 271-8587, Japan. [Email]


Since humans in daily life perform multiple motor behaviors that often involve the simultaneous activation of both jaw and tongue muscles, it is essential to understand the effects of combined orofacial sensorimotor tasks on plasticity in corticomotor pathways. Moreover, to establish novel rehabilitation programs for patients, it is important to clarify the possible interrelationships in corticomotor excitability between jaw and tongue motor control. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a combination of a repetitive tooth bite task (TBT) and a repetitive tongue lift task (TLT) on corticomotor excitability of the tongue and jaw muscles as assessed by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Sixteen healthy individuals participated in three kinds of training tasks consisting of 41-min TBT, 41-min TLT, and 82-min TBT + TLT. Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) from the tongue muscle, masseter muscle, and first dorsal interosseous muscle were measured before and after the training tasks. The amplitude of tongue MEPs after training with TLT and TLT + TBT, and masseter MEPs after training with TBT and TLT + TBT, were significantly higher than before training (P < 0.05). Tongue MEPs and masseter MEPs were significantly higher after TLT + TBT than after TBT or TLT (P < 0.05). The present results suggest that a task combining both jaw and tongue movement training is associated with a greater degree of neuroplasticity in the corticomotor control of jaw and tongue muscles than either task alone.


Corticomotor control,Neuroplasticity,Tongue lift movement,Tooth bite movement,Transcranial magnetic stimulation,

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