Anatomy and neuro-pathophysiology of the cough reflex arc

Multidiscip Respir Med. 2012 Jun 18;7(1):5. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-7-5.


Coughing is an important defensive reflex that occurs through the stimulation of a complex reflex arc. It accounts for a significant number of consultations both at the level of general practitioner and of respiratory specialists. In this review we first analyze the cough reflex under normal conditions; then we analyze the anatomy and the neuro-pathophysiology of the cough reflex arc. The aim of this review is to provide the anatomic and pathophysiologic elements of evaluation of the complex and multiple etiologies of cough.