Increased in vivo levels of neurotransmitters to trigeminal motoneurons: Effects on craniofacial bone and TMJ

Kenneth E. Byrd, Lijuan Yang, Kyle W. Yancey, Doron Teomim, Abraham J. Domb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The results of chronic, in vivo delivery of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter substances upon the craniofacial skeleton are of ongoing interest to clinician and basic scientist alike. Our purpose was to document and compare the effects of biodegradable glycine, glutamate, and thyrotropin- releasing hormone (TRH) microspheres upon the craniofacial skeleton and TMJ of actively growing rats. Glycine, glutamate, TRH, and blank microspheres were stereotactically implanted in proximity to motoneurons within the trigeminal motor nucleus in order to test the following null hypotheses: (1) neurotransmitter microspheres implanted near trigeminal motoneurons of growing rats have no significant effect on the craniofacial skeleton and temporomandibular joints of implanted animals, and (2) there are no significant differences between the relative effects of glutamate, TRH (excitatory to trigeminal motoneurons), and glycine (inhibitory to trigeminal motoneurons) implants upon the craniofacial skeleton and temporomandibular joint. Fifty male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent stereotactic neurosurgery at 35 days; five rats each were killed at 14 and 21 days postoperative for data collection and comparison between glycine-, glutamate-, TRH-, blank- microsphere, and sham-surgery rats. Glycine rats had significantly (P ≤ 0.05, 0.01) smaller implant-side cranial dimensions and mandibular condyles, all glycine rats showed increased gracility of implant-side bones, and deviation of their facial skeleton away from the implant-side; this was in contrast to the generally larger implant-side bony structures in both glutamate and TRH rats. The two null hypotheses were both rejected. Due to their inhibitory and excitatory effects upon trigeminal motoneurons, masticatory muscles, and their neuromuscular generation of biomechanical forces that affect bone, the neurotransmitter substances glycine, glutamate, and TRH appear to play an important role in the growth and development of the mammalian craniofacial skeleton and TMJ. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Development
  • Gluta mate
  • Glycine
  • Motoneuron
  • Neuromuscular
  • Neurotransmitters
  • TRH
  • Trigeminal


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