Trigeminal responses to thermal stimulation of the oral cavity in rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis) before and after bilateral anesthetization of the facial pit organs

Brain Res. 1987 Jan 6;400(2):365-70. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(87)90636-6.


Multiunit neural responses from the superficial maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve in prairie rattlesnakes were elicited by intraoral thermal stimulation. The responses to oral stimulation were shown to be independent of responses obtained by thermal stimulation of the loreal pits. Histological examination of the dorsal lip, palate, and fang sheath regions revealed dense ramifying neurons in the epidermal layers of the fang sheaths that were morphologically similar to suspected infrared sensitive neurons in the pit membranes.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia, Local
  • Animals
  • Cold Temperature
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Male
  • Mouth / innervation
  • Mouth / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology
  • Snakes / physiology*
  • Temperature
  • Thermosensing / physiology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiology*