Neural Mechanisms That Lead to Apnea

  • A. I. Pack
  • L. R. Kline
  • J. C. Hendricks
  • M. F. Cola


During apneas or hypopneas in sleep there are intermittent reductions in the activity of the upper airway muscles (obstructive apnea) or of the respiratory pump muscles such as the diaphragm (central apnea). Although anatomical abnormalities in the upper airway can predispose subjects to development of apnea, presumably by magnifying the mechanical effects of reduced activity of the upper airway muscles, important to our understanding of the pathogenesis of apnea is determining the mechanisms that produce intermittent inhibition or disfacilitation of the respiratory muscles during sleep. In this chapter we discuss our current understanding of the mechanisms that produce this reduction in neural activity in both non-rapid eye movement sleep (non-REM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). It is our thesis that the neural mechanisms that lead to apnea are different in these states.


Respiratory Muscle Periodic Breathing Auditory Tone English Bulldog Diaphragmatic Activity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. I. Pack
    • 1
  • L. R. Kline
    • 1
  • J. C. Hendricks
    • 1
  • M. F. Cola
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiovascular-Pulmonary Division, Department of Medicine School of Medicine and School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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