Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 157, Issue 3, pp 303–309 | Cite as

Respiratory bursts at the midline of the rostral medulla of the lamprey

  • Carl M. Rovainen


The contribution of a rostral crossed pathway to the coordination of fictive breathing was tested in isolated brains of adult lampreys,Ichthyomyzon unicuspis.
  1. 1.

    Periodic bursts of small spikes were recorded at the midline at the rostral level of the V motor nuclei. These occurred prior to bursts by respiratory motoneurons in the IX–X cranial nerve roots (Fig. 1).

  2. 2.

    The bursts at the midline could be generated in the rostral half of the medulla, since they continued after isolation of the isthmic-trigeminal region by transections (Fig. 2).

  3. 3.

    Stimulation at the rostral midline excited respiratory motoneurons monosynaptically (Fig. 3) and could entrain or reset the respiratory rhythm (Figs. 4, 5).

  4. 4.

    Sections of the midline sparing the rostral site still permitted bilateral synchronization of respiratory bursts (Fig. 7).

  5. 5.

    Alternatively, sections of the rostral midline still allowed coordination of respiratory bursts through crossed caudal pathways, although abnormal timing patterns were observed (Fig. 8).


It is concluded that the motor pattern for respiration is partly generated and coordinated in the rostral half of the medulla of the lamprey and is transmitted to respiratory motoneurons through descending pathways.


Nerve Root Respiratory Burst Motor Pattern Motor Nucleus Timing Pattern 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl M. Rovainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and PhysiologyWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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