This review focuses on past and recent findings that have contributed to characterize the neural networks controlling respiration in the lamprey, a basal vertebrate. As in other vertebrates, respiration in lampreys is generated centrally in the brainstem. It is characterized by the presence of a fast and a slow respiratory rhythm. The anatomical and the basic physiological properties of the neural networks underlying the generation of the fast rhythm have been more thoroughly investigated; less is known about the generation of the slow respiratory rhythm. Comparative aspects with respiratory generators in other vertebrates as well as the mechanisms of modulation of respiration in association with locomotion are discussed.
Keywords: Brainstem; CPG; Lamprey; Locomotion; Respiration.
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