Hormones and breathing

Chest. 2002 Dec;122(6):2165-82. doi: 10.1378/chest.122.6.2165.


A number of hormones, including hypothalamic neuropeptides acting as neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the CNS, are involved in the physiologic regulation of breathing and participate in adjustment of breathing in disease. In addition to central effects, some hormones also control breathing at peripheral chemoreceptors or have local effects on the lungs and airways. Estrogen and progesterone seem to protect from sleep-disordered breathing, whereas testosterone may predispose to it. Progesterone and thyroxine have long been known to stimulate respiration. More recently, several hormones such as corticotropin-releasing hormone and leptin have been suggested to act as respiratory stimulants. Somatostatin, dopamine, and neuropeptide Y have a depressing effect on breathing. Animal models and experimental human studies suggest that also many other hormones may be involved in respiratory control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catecholamines / physiology
  • Estrogens / physiology
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / physiology
  • Growth Hormone / physiology
  • Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Progesterone
  • Prolactin / physiology
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Testosterone / physiology
  • Thyroid Hormones


  • Catecholamines
  • Estrogens
  • Hormones
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone
  • Prolactin
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • Growth Hormone