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Association between Mastication, the Hippocampus, and the HPA Axis: A Comprehensive Review

Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, 1-1 Iseigaoka, Yahatanishi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 807-8555, Japan
Department of Radiology, JA Gifu Welfare Federation Ibi Welfare Hospital, 2547-4, Miwa Ibigawa-cho, Ibi-gun, Gifu 501-0696, Japan
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Faculty of Human Life and Environmental Science, Nagoya Women’s University, 3-40 Shioji-cho, Mizuho-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 467-8610, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(8), 1687;
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
Mastication is mainly involved in food intake and nutrient digestion with the aid of teeth. Mastication is also important for preserving and promoting general health, including hippocampus-dependent cognition. Both animal and human studies indicate that mastication influences hippocampal functions through the end product of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, glucocorticoid (GC). Epidemiologic studies suggest that masticatory dysfunction in aged individuals, such as that resulting from tooth loss and periodontitis, acting as a source of chronic stress, activates the HPA axis, leading to increases in circulating GCs and eventually inducing various physical and psychological diseases, such as cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disorders, and osteoporosis. Recent studies demonstrated that masticatory stimulation or chewing during stressful conditions suppresses the hyperactivity of the HPA axis via GCs and GC receptors within the hippocampus, and ameliorates chronic stress-induced hippocampus-dependent cognitive deficits. Here, we provide a comprehensive overview of current research regarding the association between mastication, the hippocampus, and HPA axis activity. We also discuss several potential molecular mechanisms involved in the interactions between mastication, hippocampal function, and HPA axis activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: chewing; masticatory dysfunction; hippocampus; HPA axis chewing; masticatory dysfunction; hippocampus; HPA axis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Azuma, K.; Zhou, Q.; Niwa, M.; Kubo, K.-y. Association between Mastication, the Hippocampus, and the HPA Axis: A Comprehensive Review. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1687.

AMA Style

Azuma K, Zhou Q, Niwa M, Kubo K-y. Association between Mastication, the Hippocampus, and the HPA Axis: A Comprehensive Review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017; 18(8):1687.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Azuma, Kagaku, Qian Zhou, Masami Niwa, and Kin-ya Kubo. 2017. "Association between Mastication, the Hippocampus, and the HPA Axis: A Comprehensive Review" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18, no. 8: 1687.

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