Dorsal medullary inspiratory neurons: effects of superior laryngeal afferent stimulation

Brain Res. 1989 Jul 10;491(2):243-52. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(89)90060-7.


In decerebrate paralyzed cats ventilated with a cycle-triggered pump, we examined the responses of inspiratory (I) neurons in the region of the ventrolateral nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) to single electrical stimuli delivered to the ipsilateral superior laryngeal nerve (SLN). Sixty-five I neurons were classified as: I(-), I(0), I(+, early), I(+, late) or I(other) on the basis of responses to lung inflation, and as I(bulbophrenic) or I(non-bulbophrenic) on the basis of evidence of an excitatory projection to the contralateral phrenic motoneuron pool. The peristimulus histograms of contralateral phrenic activity showed an early peak of excitation with average latency of 4.9 +/- 0.1 ms (mean +/- S.E.M.), followed by depression at 7.3 +/- 0.2 ms, start of recovery from depression at 22.7 +/- 1.0 ms, and recovery to control levels at 28.4 +/- 1.1 ms. The peristimulus histograms of ipsilateral I unit activity showed an initial excitation (latency 2.9 +/- 0.3 ms), followed by spiking silence (latency 6.0 +/- 0.6 ms) and recovery to control discharge frequency at 38.8 +/- 3.6 ms. This time of inhibition was significantly longer than the time of phrenic depression, suggesting that other bulbophrenic excitatory projections are able to rapidly compensate for decreased NTS output. Subgroups of I neurons, as classified by lung inflation tests, did not differ significantly with respect to these timing variables. In contrast, latencies of excitation for I(bulbophrenic) neurons were significantly less than for I(non-bulbophrenic) neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Decerebrate State
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Laryngeal Nerves / physiology*
  • Medulla Oblongata / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Respiration*