Postnatal maturation of breathing stability and loop gain: the role of carotid chemoreceptor development

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2013 Jan 1;185(1):144-55. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2012.06.003. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


Any general model of respiratory control must explain a puzzling array of breathing patterns that are observed during the course of a lifetime. Particular challenges are to understand why periodic breathing is rarely seen in the first few days after birth, reaches a peak at 2-4 weeks postnatal age, and disappears by 6 months, why it is prevalent in preterm infants, and why it reappears in adults at altitude or with heart failure. In this review we use the concept of loop gain to obtain quantitative insight into the genesis of unstable breathing patterns with a particular focus on how changes in carotid body function could underlie the age-related dependence of periodic breathing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Body / growth & development*
  • Carotid Body / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology
  • Respiratory System / growth & development*