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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Glutamate evoked neck and jaw muscle pain facilitate the human jaw stretch reflex.

OBJECTIVE: Although pain and neuromuscular function are clearly linked in several clinical conditions manifested in the craniofacial and cervical regions, it is unclear if pain in these regions influences reflexly evoked activity in the jaw or neck muscles in humans. The aim of the present study was to test the effects of glutamate-evoked jaw or neck muscle pain on the jaw stretch reflex recorded in both jaw and neck muscles. METHODS: Nineteen healthy men participated in the study. Electromyographic (EMG) recordings were made from the left masseter (MAL) and right masseter (MAR) muscles and the right sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and splenius (SP) muscles. Glutamate (1 M) or isotonic saline was injected into the MAR or right SP in random order and then the other solution was injected 1-3 weeks later. Pain intensity was scored on a 10 cm visual analogue scale. Stretch reflexes were evoked by standardized jaw stretches before, during and 15 min after the end of the experimental muscle pain. Twenty trials were averaged in each condition. RESULTS: Pain evoked by MAR or SP glutamate injections was associated with a significant increase in the stretch reflex amplitude recorded in both MAR and SCM. The onset and offset times and duration of the stretch reflex did not change in any muscle during the various pain conditions. Injection of isotonic saline into the MAR or SP did not produce any significant change in the reflex parameters in any of the muscles. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate the close interplay between the craniofacial and cervical regions in the neuromuscular changes that may result from musculoskeletal pain in either region. SIGNIFICANCE: The changes in neuromuscular activity documented in this study may be involved in the clinical occurrence of altered muscle activity in the orofacial and cervical regions as a result of deep tissue trauma and pain.[1]


  1. Glutamate evoked neck and jaw muscle pain facilitate the human jaw stretch reflex. Wang, K., Sessle, B.J., Svensson, P., Arendt-Nielsen, L. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. (2004) [Pubmed]
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