The masseter inhibitory reflex is evoked by innocuous stimuli and mediated by A beta afferent fibres

Exp Brain Res. 1989;77(2):447-50. doi: 10.1007/BF00275005.


Mechanical or electrical stimulations in the area of the mouth evoke two phases of inhibition in the masseter muscle (early and late inhibitory reflex, also called masseter silent periods). The question whether the afferents of the human masseter inhibitory reflex are nociceptive or non-nociceptive has not yet been settled. We showed that an innocuous stimulus, such as a fine jet of saline directed to the lips of healthy humans, evokes an early and a late masseter inhibitory reflex, similar to those following electrical stimulation. We measured the efferent and afferent delay of the masseter early inhibitory reflex in patients submitted to intracranial stimulation of the motor and sensory trigeminal root, and found that the reflex afferents belong to the intermediately-fast conducting fibre group.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Lip / physiology
  • Masseter Muscle / innervation
  • Masseter Muscle / physiology*
  • Masticatory Muscles / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / physiopathology