Postnatal growth is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Nasal obstruction during growth alters the electromyographic activity of orofacial muscles. The facial primary motor area represents muscles of the tongue and jaw, which are essential in regulating orofacial motor functions, including chewing and jaw opening. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of chronic unilateral nasal obstruction during growth on the motor representations within the face primary motor cortex (M1). Seventy-two 6-day-old male Wistar rats were randomly divided into control (n = 36) and experimental (n = 36) groups. Rats in the experimental group underwent unilateral nasal obstruction after cauterization of the external nostril at 8 days of age. Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) mapping was performed when the rats were 5, 7, 9, and 11 weeks old in control and experimental groups (n = 9 per group per time point). Repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance was used for intergroup and intragroup statistical comparisons. In the control and experimental groups, the total number of positive ICMS sites for the genioglossus and anterior digastric muscles was significantly higher at 5, 7, and 9 weeks, but there was no significant difference between 9 and 11 weeks of age. Moreover, the total number of positive ICMS sites was significantly smaller in the experimental group than in the control at each age. It is possible that nasal obstruction induced the initial changes in orofacial motor behavior in response to the altered respiratory pattern, which eventually contributed to face-M1 neuroplasticity.
- nasal obstruction
- face primary motor cortex
- motor representation
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Applied Physiology