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Regional differences in length change and electromyographic heterogeneity in sternohyoid muscle during infant mammalian swallowing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nicolai Konow, Allan Thexton, A. W. Crompton, Rebecca Z. German

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439 - 448
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
PublishedAug 2010

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Abstract

Konow N, Thexton A, Crompton AW, German RZ. Regional differences in length change and electromyographic heterogeneity in sternohyoid muscle during infant mammalian swallowing. J Appl Physiol 109: 439-448, 2010. First published June 10, 2010; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00353.2010.-A complex sling of muscles moves and stabilizes the hyoid bone during many mammalian behaviors. One muscle in this sling, the sternohyoid, is recruited during food acquisition, processing, and swallowing, and also during nonfeeding behaviors. We used synchronous sonomicrometry and electromyography to investigate regional (intramuscular) changes in length and electromyographic (EMG) activity of the sternohyoid during swallowing in the infant pig. The simple straplike architecture of the sternohyoid led us to hypothesize that limited regional variation in length and muscle activity would be present. We found statistically significant regional differences in EMG activity, and, with respect to length dynamics, the sternohyoid did not behave homogeneously during swallowing. The midbelly region typically shortened while the anterior and posterior regions lengthened, although in a minority of swallows (12.5%) the midbelly lengthened simultaneously with the end-regions. Despite its nonpennate architecture and evolutionarily conservative innervation, the mammalian sternohyoid appears to contain previously unrecognized populations of regionally specialized motor units. It also displays differential contraction patterns, very similar to the sternohyoid of nonmammalian vertebrates.

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