, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 100–108 | Cite as

Cortical Regulation During the Early Stage of Initiation of Voluntary Swallowing in Humans

  • Yutaka WatanabeEmail author
  • Shinichi Abe
  • Tatsuya Ishikawa
  • Yoshiaki Yamada
  • Gen-yuki Yamane


The aim of the present study was to reveal the spatiotemporal relations among cortical regions involved in the initiation of voluntary swallowing in humans using magnetoencephalography (MEG). As a control task, finger extension movement, which is purely voluntary, was also investigated using the same techniques. The swallowing-related activity was distributed widely for 2000 ms before the electromyogram onset of the right suprahyoid muscle; however, the finger-related activity occurred in the late stage of the recording. The cingulate cortex, the insula, and the inferior frontal gyrus were the main loci active prior to swallowing. These cortical loci coincide with those suggested by previous human brain mapping studies that investigated the brain mechanism which controls swallowing. Activation in the cingulate cortex was registered in the early stage of swallowing and could be related to the cognitive process regarding the food being safe to swallow. The activation in the insula lasted for a long time before the initiation of swallowing. This suggests that the long-lasting activation in the insula prior to swallowing is essential for the initiation of swallowing.


Deglutition Magnetoencephalography Insula Cingulate cortex Inferior frontal gyrus Deglutition disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yutaka Watanabe
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Shinichi Abe
    • 2
  • Tatsuya Ishikawa
    • 3
  • Yoshiaki Yamada
    • 4
  • Gen-yuki Yamane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral MedicineTokyo Dental CollegeChiba
  2. 2.Department of AnatomyTokyo Dental CollegeChiba
  3. 3.Department of Conservative Dentistry and Brain Research LaboratoryTokyo Dental CollegeChiba
  4. 4.Division of Oral PhysiologyNiigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesNiigataJapan
  5. 5.Department of Oral MedicineTokyo Dental College, Ichikawa General HospitalIchikawa-city, ChibaJapan

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