Adaptations in the temporalis muscles of rabbits after masseter muscle removal. Academic Article uri icon


  • Masseter muscles were surgically removed in six young female rabbits so that we could study adaptations of the superficial temporalis muscles (ST) to increased functional requirements. Eight weeks following surgery, we used morphological measurements, histochemistry, contractile properties in situ, and occlusal force in vivo to compare the muscles in the experimental animals and six control rabbits. Analysis of the results demonstrated a decrease in fatigability of ST after masseter myectomy. Incisal occlusal force decreased by 65% during the first two weeks, and no recovery was observed during the following six weeks. At eight weeks post-surgery, the mass, twitch tensions, and tetanic tensions of ST were not significantly different from those of the controls. An increase in the percent of the cross-sectional area composed of fast fatigue-resistant fibers, a slower time-to-peak twitch tension, and a decrease in fatigability suggest an increase in oxidative metabolism. Analysis of these results suggests that muscles used for highly repetitious activities with submaximal loadings adapt to increased functional requirements by increasing fatigue-resistant properties.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Guelinckx, P., Dechow, P. C., Vanrusselt, R., & Carlson, D. S

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Guelinckx, P||Dechow, PC||Vanrusselt, R||Carlson, DS

publication date

  • November 1986