Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 179, Issue 5, pp 579–592 | Cite as

Lung respiratory rhythm and pattern generation in the bullfrog: role of neurokinin-1 and μ-opioid receptors

  • B. L. Davies
  • C. M. Brundage
  • M. B. Harris
  • B. E. TaylorEmail author
Original Paper


Location of the lung respiratory rhythm generator (RRG) in the bullfrog brainstem was investigated by examining neurokinin-1 and μ-opioid receptor (NK1R, μOR) colocalization by immunohistochemistry and characterizing the role of these receptors in lung rhythm and episodic pattern generation. NK1R and μOR occurred in brainstems from all developmental stages. In juvenile bullfrogs a distinct area of colocalization was coincident with high-intensity fluorescent labeling of μOR; high-intensity labeling of μOR was not distinctly and consistently localized in tadpole brainstems. NK1R labeling intensity did not change with development. Similarity in colocalization is consistent with similarity in responses to substance P (SP, NK1R agonist) and DAMGO (μOR agonist) when bath applied to bullfrog brainstems of different developmental stages. In early stage tadpoles and juvenile bullfrogs, SP increased and DAMGO decreased lung burst frequency. In juvenile bullfrogs, SP increased lung burst frequency, episode frequency, but decreased number of lung bursts per episode and lung burst duration. In contrast, DAMGO decreased lung burst frequency and burst cycle frequency, episode frequency, and number of lung bursts per episode but increased all other lung burst parameters. Based on these results, we hypothesize that NK1R and μOR colocalization together with a metamorphosis-related increase in μOR intensity marks the location of the lung RRG but not necessarily the lung episodic pattern generator.


Respiratory rhythmogenesis Episodic breathing Isolated brainstem 



This work was funded by NIH-NINDS 2U54NS041069-06AI. Protocols used in this study follow the institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) guidelines and adhere to local and national ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. Davies
    • 1
  • C. M. Brundage
    • 1
  • M. B. Harris
    • 1
  • B. E. Taylor
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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