Methods: Two ligatures were placed around the tendon attachment of the anterior superficial portion of the masseter muscle. The tendon on both sides of the head were ligated. Animals were placed in feeding units and meal patterns were measured from one day before the ligatures were placed to 18 days following ligature surgery. The rats were on a 10:14 dark:light cycle and were fed ad libitum.
Results: Dark phase and daily meal duration were significantly affected (p<0.001) by ligature of the tendon for 18 days following surgery. The ligature effect was significant during the dark phase meal duration from days 8 through 14 (p<0.05). Daily meal number was significantly effected by ligature of the tendon for the first seven days (p<0.05). Post-hoc testing indicated that consistent significant differences in meal duration and meal number could be detected versus the sham group.
Conclusions: These findings suggest meal patterns are a quantitative measure of the nociception produced after ligature of the masseter tendon in male and female rats.
Keywords: Neuroscience and TMJ and masticatory muscles