Recent results have established that masticatory function plays a role not only in the balance of the stomatognathic system and in the central motor control, but also in the trophism of the hippocampus and in the cognitive activity. These implications have been shown in clinical studies and in animal researches as well, by means of histological, biochemical and behavioural techniques. This systematic review describes the effects of three forms of experimentally altered mastication, namely soft-diet feeding, molar extraction and bite-raising, on the trophism and function of the hippocampus in animal models. Through a systematic search of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, OpenGray and GrayMatters, 645 articles were identified, 33 full text articles were assessed for eligibility and 28 articles were included in the review process. The comprehensiveness of reporting was evaluated with the ARRIVE guidelines and the risk of bias with the SYRCLE RoB tool. The literature reviewed agrees that a disturbed mastication is significantly associated with a reduced number of hippocampal pyramidal neurons in Cornu Ammonis (CA)1 and CA3, downregulation of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), reduced synaptic activity, reduced neurogenesis in the Dentate Gyrus (DG), glial proliferation, and reduced performances in behavioural tests, indicating memory impairment and reduced spatial orientation. Moreover, while the biteraised condition, characterized by occlusal instability, is known to be a source of stress, softdiet feeding and molar extractions were not consistently associated with a stress response. More research is needed to clarify this topic. The emerging role of chewing in the preservation of hippocampal trophism, neurogenesis and synaptic activity is worthy of interest and may contribute to the study of neurodegenerative diseases in new and potentially relevant ways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)