Ventilatory instability during sleep onset in individuals with high peripheral chemosensitivity

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1999 Aug;87(2):661-72. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1999.87.2.661.


Previous work has shown that the magnitude of state-related ventilatory fluctuations is amplified over the sleep-onset period and that this amplification is partly due to peripheral chemoreceptor activity, because it is reduced by hyperoxia (J. Dunai, M. Wilkinson, and J. Trinder. J. Appl. Physiol. 81: 2235-2243, 1996). These data also indicated considerable intersubject variability in the magnitude of amplification. A possible source of this variability is individual differences in peripheral chemoreceptor drive (PCD). We tested this hypothesis by measuring state-related ventilatory fluctuations throughout sleep onset under normoxic and hyperoxic conditions in subjects with high and low PCD. Results demonstrated that high-PCD subjects experienced significantly greater amplification of state-related ventilatory fluctuations than did low-PCD subjects. In addition, hyperoxia significantly reduced the amplification effect in high-PCD subjects but had little effect in low-PCD subjects. These results indicate that individuals with high PCD are likely to experience greater sleep-related ventilatory instability and suggest that peripheral chemoreceptor activity can contribute to sleep-disordered breathing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia / physiopathology
  • Hyperventilation / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Respiration*
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Ventilators, Mechanical


  • Oxygen