Role of the lateral hypothalamus in submandibular salivary secretion during feeding in rats

Ryuji Matsuo, Motoi Kobashi, Yoshihiro Mitoh, Masako Fujita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate the role of the lateral hypothalamic area (LH) in the masticatory-salivary reflex, we investigated submandibular salivary secretion and the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the jaw-closer masseter muscle in sham-operated rats and rats with unilateral LH lesions. One week prior to surgery and recording, the rats were given daily experience of eating pellets; powder; or hard, medium or soft mash, all of which were composed of laboratory chow. Salivary secretion was induced during eating and grooming behavior. During eating, the powdered food induced the highest salivary flow rate, and the soft (wet) mash induced the lowest salivary flow rate. Conversely, the amount of food consumed (dry weight) was greatest when soft mash was provided and lowest when the powder or pellets (a dry diet) were provided. The EMG activity of the masseter muscle during eating was greatest during consumption of the pellets and weakest during consumption of the powder. LH lesions that were ipsilateral to the examined submandibular gland reduced salivary secretion to about 20-30% of the control value, whereas contralateral LH lesions reduced it to about 40-50% of the control value. Neither masseter muscle EMG activity nor food consumption was markedly affected by the presence of an LH lesion. These results suggest that the texture of food, especially its water content, affects the flow rate of saliva and that the LH is heavily involved in the masticatory-salivary reflex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-107
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Publication statusPublished - Jan 30 2015


  • EMG
  • Lateral hypothalamus
  • Mastication
  • Rat
  • Salivary secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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