Understanding the rhythm of breathing: so near, yet so far

Annu Rev Physiol. 2013:75:423-52. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-040510-130049. Epub 2012 Oct 29.


Breathing is an essential behavior that presents a unique opportunity to understand how the nervous system functions normally, how it balances inherent robustness with a highly regulated lability, how it adapts to both rapidly and slowly changing conditions, and how particular dysfunctions result in disease. We focus on recent advancements related to two essential sites for respiratory rhythmogenesis: (a) the preBötzinger Complex (preBötC) as the site for the generation of inspiratory rhythm and (b) the retrotrapezoid nucleus/parafacial respiratory group (RTN/pFRG) as the site for the generation of active expiration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exhalation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inhalation / physiology
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology
  • Periodicity
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Respiratory System / innervation*