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The activity of respiratory neurons before and during panting in the cat

Summary

The effects of heating the preoptic/anterior hypothalamic (PO/AH) region on medullary respiratory neurons were studied in urethane-anesthetized, spontaneously breathing cats. The efferent phrenic nerve discharge or the pneumotachogram served as an indicator of central respiratory periodicity.

In each animal, heating of the PO/AH area caused panting, defined as an increase of respiratory rate over 100 breaths per minute. During polypnea similar changes in the discharge patterns of both inspiratory and expiratory neurons were observed. There was a significant decrease in the duration of the discharge phase and the number of impulses per burst so that a reciprocal relationship existed between these parameters and respiratory rate. However, the average impulse frequency within a burst was higher during panting and could be shown to be a linear function of respiratory rate. Due to the concomitant decrease in inspiration and expiration times, the average discharge frequency per cycle time also increased in both inspiratory and expiratory medullary neurons. For continuously discharging neurons which displayed a higher frequency during the inspiration period (frequency modulated discharge), the phasic linkage remained unchanged during polypneic panting. From our results it is concluded that local heating of the PO/AH region shifts the entire respiratory system to a higher level of activity which can be correlated with ventilatory changes during panting.

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This project was supported by 5 RO1-00031 from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke.

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Pleschka, K., Wang, S.C. The activity of respiratory neurons before and during panting in the cat. Pflugers Arch. 353, 303–315 (1975). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00587027

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Key words

  • Medullary Respiratory Neurons
  • Local Hypothalamic Heating
  • Controll of Respiratory Rate
  • Panting