Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 10, pp 2661–2676 | Cite as

Supportive effect of interferential current stimulation on susceptibility of swallowing in guinea pigs

  • Toshiro Umezaki
  • Yoichiro SugiyamaEmail author
  • Shinya Fuse
  • Shigeyuki Mukudai
  • Shigeru Hirano
Research Article


Sensory-motor control of the pharyngeal swallow requires sensory afferent inputs from the pharynx and larynx evoked by introducing bolus into the pharynx. Patients with reduced sensitivity of the pharynx and larynx are likely to have a swallowing impairment, such as pre-swallow aspiration due to delayed swallow triggering. Interferential current stimulation applied to the neck is thought to improve the swallowing function of dysphagic patients, although the mechanism underlying the facilitatory effect of such stimulation remains unknown. In the present study, we examined the changes in the elicitability of swallowing due to the stimulation and the responses of the swallowing-related neurons in the nucleus tractus solitarius and in the area adjacent to the stimulation in decerebrate and paralyzed guinea pigs. The swallowing delay time was shortened by the stimulation, whereas the facilitatory effect of eliciting swallowing was attenuated by kainic acid injection into the nucleus tractus solitarius. Approximately half of the swallowing-related neurons responded to the stimulation. These data suggest that the interferential current stimulation applied to the neck could enhance the sensory afferent pathway of the pharynx and larynx, subserving excitatory inputs to the neurons of the swallowing pattern generator, thereby facilitating the swallowing reflex.


Swallowing Interferential current stimulation Nucleus tractus solitarius Guinea pigs 



The authors thank Yoshitaka Oku for comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Yoichiro Sugiyama equally contributed as the first author to this manuscript. This work was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) Grant number 15K20220.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesInternational University of Health and Welfare, and the Voice and Swallowing Center, Fukuoka Sanno HospitalFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryKyoto Prefectural University of MedicineKyotoJapan

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