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Regional Effects of Nembutal Anesthesia on Brainstem Respiratory Neurones

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The Regulation of Respiration During Sleep and Anesthesia

Part of the book series: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology ((AEMB,volume 99))


Only a few years ago the mechanism of decrease in ventilation observed during barbiturate anesthesia seemed very simple. Explanation was based on arguments in the form of a syllogism:

  1. (1)

    the respiratory centre was thought to b e made up of neurones of the reticular formation;

  2. (2)

    it was established that the excitability of reticular neurones is reduced by barbiturates, since transmission of sensory responses within the reticular formation is markedly impaired by nembutal1 From this was deduced that the decrease in ventilation produced by barbiturates is due to a diffuse action of the drug on brainstem respiratory neurones. In support of this view Hukuhara et al. 2 observed that nembutal decreases the number of reticular units firing with a respiratory rhythm at the level of the obex and almost completely suppresses respiratory unit activity in pontine reticular formation.

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© 1978 Plenum Press, New York

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Hugelin, A. (1978). Regional Effects of Nembutal Anesthesia on Brainstem Respiratory Neurones. In: Fitzgerald, R.S., Gautier, H., Lahiri, S. (eds) The Regulation of Respiration During Sleep and Anesthesia. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 99. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4613-4011-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4613-4009-6

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