Circuits in the rodent brainstem that control whisking in concert with other orofacial motor actions.
In this paper, we present evidence that neurons in the dorsal part of the trigeminal main sensory nucleus participate in the patterning of mastication. These neurons have special membrane properties that allow them to generate rhythmical bursts of action potentials in the frequency range of natural mastication even when cut off from synaptic inputs. These properties mature during the third postnatal week in rats at the same time as mastication begins. Finally, we present evidence that a reduction on extracellular calcium concentration is an important step in the initiation of mastication.