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Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache



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J Orofac Pain 34 (2020), No. 1     24. Jan. 2020
J Orofac Pain 34 (2020), No. 1  (24.01.2020)

Page 40-52

Reorganization of Masseter and Temporalis Muscle Single Motor Unit Activity During Experimental Masseter Muscle Pain
Ferreira, Polyana Moura / Sandoval, Isbel / Whittle, Terry / Mojaver, Yalda Nozad / Murray, Greg M.
Aims: To test the hypothesis that experimental noxious stimulation of the right masseter muscle results in a reorganization of motor unit activity within the right temporalis and right masseter muscles during jaw closing tasks.
Methods: A total of 20 healthy participants received hypertonic saline (5% sodium chloride) infusion into the right masseter muscle, and pain intensity was maintained at 40-60/100 mm on a visual analog scale. Standardized isometric biting tasks were performed with an intraoral force transducer while single motor units (SMUs) were recorded from the right masseter and temporalis muscles. Tasks were repeated in four blocks: block 1 (baseline 1), block 2 (hypertonic saline [HS] infusion or isotonic saline [IS] infusion), block 3 (infusion of the other solution), and block 4 (baseline 2). The occurrences of SMUs were tabulated across blocks. Statistical significance was considered to be P < .05.
Results: There were no significant effects of block on the tasks. A total of 83 SMUs were discriminated in the temporalis and 58 in the masseter. For the comparison between HS and IS across tasks, the occurrences of 74.6% to 82.8% of SMUs were unchanged (70.2% to 94.3% for masseter), while during HS, 10.3% to 17.1% of SMUs were recruited (0% to 12.8%, masseter) and 6.9% to 12.7% were de-recruited (5.7% to 17%, masseter).
Conclusion: The present findings suggest that most biting-task-related jaw muscle SMUs remain active during experimental muscle noxious stimulation. There was some evidence in both the anterior temporalis and masseter muscles for motor unit recruitment and de-recruitment consistent with a motor unit reorganization during experimental pain.

Keywords: electromyography, hypertonic, isometric contraction, masticatory muscles, saline solution