Abdominal expiratory activity in the rat brainstem-spinal cord in situ: patterns, origins and implications for respiratory rhythm generation

A P L Abdala, I A Rybak, J C Smith, J F R Paton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We studied respiratory neural activity generated during expiration. Motoneuronal activity was recorded simultaneously from abdominal (AbN), phrenic (PN), hypoglossal (HN) and central vagus nerves from neonatal and juvenile rats in situ. During eupnoeic activity, low-amplitude post-inspiratory (post-I) discharge was only present in AbN motor outflow. Expression of AbN late-expiratory (late-E) activity, preceding PN bursts, occurred during hypercapnia. Biphasic expiratory (biphasic-E) activity with pre-inspiratory (pre-I) and post-I discharges occurred only during eucapnic anoxia or hypercapnic anoxia. Late-E activity generated during hypercapnia (7-10% CO(2)) was abolished with pontine transections or chemical suppression of retrotrapezoid nucleus/ventrolateral parafacial (RTN/vlPF). AbN late-E activity during hypercapnia is coupled with augmented pre-I discharge in HN, truncated PN burst, and was quiescent during inspiration. Our data suggest that the pons provides a necessary excitatory drive to an additional neural oscillatory mechanism that is only activated under conditions of high respiratory drive to generate late-E activity destined for AbN motoneurones. This mechanism may arise from neurons located in the RTN/vlPF or the latter may relay late-E activity generated elsewhere. We hypothesize that this oscillatory mechanism is not a necessary component of the respiratory central pattern generator but constitutes a defensive mechanism activated under critical metabolic conditions to provide forced expiration and reduced upper airway resistance simultaneously. Possible interactions of this oscillator with components of the brainstem respiratory network are discussed.
Translated title of the contributionAbdominal expiratory activity in the rat brainstem-spinal cord in situ: patterns, origins and implications for respiratory rhythm generation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3539 - 3559
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume587
Issue numberPt 14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

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