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Keywords:

  • Brainstem;
  • headache;
  • noci-ception;
  • plasticity;
  • trigeminal

Tension-type headache is the most common type of primary headaches but no conclusive concept of pathophysiology exists. This may be due to a lack of an appropriate animal model. This study addressed the hypothesis that noxious neck muscle input induces central sensitization of orofacial sensorimotor processing. The effect of hypertonic saline injection into the semispinal neck muscle on the jaw-opening reflex (JOR) was investigated in anaesthetized mice (n = 11). Hypertonic saline injection into the neck muscle facilitated the JOR for at least one hour: integral (+94.5%) and duration (+18.7%) increased, latency decreased (−7.5%). The reflex threshold decreased to 61% after injection. Isotonic saline injection into the neck muscle (n = 11) or hypertonic saline injection into a hindpaw muscle (n = 10) did neither change the reflex integral nor the threshold. Long-term potentiation of the JOR by noxious neck muscle input may be an appropriate model to investigate tension-type headache pathophysiology.