Current scientific literature provides evidence that trigeminal sensorimotor activity associated with chewing may affect arousal, attention, and cognitive performance. These effects may be due to widespread connections of the trigeminal system to the ascending reticular activating system (ARAS), to which noradrenergic neurons of the locus coeruleus (LC) belongs. LC neurons contain projections to the whole brain, and it is known that their discharge co-varies with pupil size. LC activation is necessary for eliciting task-related mydriasis. If chewing effects on cognitive performance are mediated by the LC, it is reasonable to expect that changes in cognitive performance are correlated to changes in task-related mydriasis. Two novel protocols are presented here to verify this hypothesis and document that chewing effects are not attributable to aspecific motor activation. In both protocols, performance and pupil size changes observed during specific tasks are recorded before, soon after, and half an hour following a 2 min period of either: a) no activity, b) rhythmic, bilateral handgrip, c) bilateral chewing of soft pellet, and d) bilateral chewing of hard pellet. The first protocol measures level of performance in spotting target numbers displayed within numeric matrices. Since pupil size recordings are recorded by an appropriate pupillometer that impedes vision to ensure constant illumination levels, task-related mydriasis is evaluated during a haptic task. Results from this protocol reveal that 1) chewing-induced changes in performance and task-related mydriasis are correlated and 2) neither performance nor mydriasis are enhanced by handgrip. In the second protocol, use of a wearable pupillometer allows measurement of pupil size changes and performance during the same task, thus allowing even stronger evidence to be obtained regarding LC involvement in the trigeminal effects on cognitive activity. Both protocols have been run in the historical office of Prof. Giuseppe Moruzzi, the discoverer of ARAS, at the University of Pisa.
|Titolo:||Assessing Pupil-linked Changes in Locus Coeruleus-mediated Arousal Elicited by Trigeminal Stimulation|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo su Rivista/Article|