Alternative pathways for catecholamine action in oral motor control

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2005-09-01

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Elsevier B.V.

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Orofacial movement is a complex function performed by facial and jaw muscles. Jaw movement is enacted through the triggering of motoneurons located primarily in the trigeminal motor nucleus (Mo5). The Mo5 is located in the pontine reticular formation, which is encircled by premotor neurons. Previous studies using retrograde tracers have demonstrated that premotor neurons innervating the Mo5 are distributed in brainstem areas, and electrophysiological studies have suggested the existence of a subcortical relay in the corticofugal-Mo5 pathway. Various neurotransmitters have been implicated in oral movement. Dopamine is of special interest since its imbalance may produce changes in basal ganglia activity, which generates abnormal movements, including jaw motor dysfunction, as in oral dyskinesia and possibly in bruxism. However, the anatomical pathways connecting the dopaminergic systems with Mo5 motoneurons have not been studied systematically. After injecting retrograde tracer fluorogold into the Mo5, we observed retrograde-labeled neurons in brainstem areas and in a few forebrain nuclei, such as the central nucleus of the amygdala, and the parasubthalamic nucleus. By using dual-labeled immunohistochemistry, we found tyrosine hydroxylase (a catecholamine-processing enzyme) immunoreactive fibers in close apposition to retrograde-labeled neurons in brainstem nuclei, in the central nucleus of the amygdala and the parasubthalamic nucleus, suggesting the occurrence of synaptic contacts. Therefore, we suggested that catecholamines may regulate oralfacial movements through the premotor brainstem nuclei, which are related to masticatory control, and forebrain areas related to autonomic and stress responses. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V.. All rights reserved.

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Neuroscience Letters. Clare: Elsevier B.V., v. 386, n. 1, p. 34-39, 2005.

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