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Keywords:

  • digastric muscle;
  • electromyography;
  • in vivo bone loading;
  • in vivo bone strain;
  • mandible;
  • masseter muscle

Abstract

Muscles are considered to play an important role in the ongoing daily loading of bone, especially in the masticatory apparatus. Currently, there are no measurements describing this role over longer periods of time. We made simultaneous and wireless in vivo recordings of habitual strains of the rabbit mandible and masseter muscle and digastric muscle activity up to ∼ 25 h. The extent to which habitually occurring bone strains were related to muscle-activity bursts in time and in amplitude is described. The data reveal the masseter muscle to load the mandible almost continuously throughout the day, either within cyclic activity bouts or with thousands of isolated muscle bursts. Mandibular strain events rarely took place without simultaneous masseter activity, whereas the digastric muscle only played a small role in loading the mandible. The average intensity of masseter-muscle activity bouts was strongly linked to the average amplitude of the concomitant bone-strain events. However, individual pairs of muscle bursts and strain events showed no relation in amplitude within cyclic loading bouts. Larger bone-strain events, presumably related to larger muscle-activity levels, had more constant principal-strain directions. Finally, muscle-to-bone force transmissions were detected to take place at frequencies up to 15 Hz. We conclude that in the ongoing habitual loading of the rabbit mandible, the masseter muscle plays an almost non-stop role. In addition, our results support the possibility that muscle activity is a source of low-amplitude, high-frequency bone loading.