Developmental plasticity of respiratory control following intermittent hypoxia

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2005 Nov 15;149(1-3):301-11. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2005.01.014.


During development, windows of increased vulnerability to noxious stimulus occur. These critical periods of maturation represent times at which the maturing animal is uniquely susceptible to external perturbations that may alter the ultimate configuration of neural networks and their associated function(s), thereby inducing persistent (mal)adaptive changes. In contrast, when comparable perturbations are applied to adult animals the associated adaptive changes do not typically persist. This principle has been demonstrated in models of respiratory plasticity in developing mammals including exposure to sustained hypoxia, hyperoxia, and pharmacological agents. Recently, intermittent hypoxia (IH) during development has also been implicated as a potent inducer of respiratory plasticity. Altered ventilatory patterning induced by IH is distinct from other stimuli and elicits markedly different responses in the developing mammal as compared to the adult. Furthermore, adaptations to acute IH (AIH) exposure may involve mechanisms that differ from those invoked by chronic IH exposure (CIH). Thus, critical examination of IH exposure paradigms is also an important consideration. Greater understanding of IH-induced ventilatory plasticity, particularly in the developing animal, will undoubtedly increase our understanding of IH related diseases such as sleep disordered breathing, and perhaps provide future directions for intervention strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology
  • Hyperoxia / physiopathology
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Respiratory System / growth & development*
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology*