Breathing: Motor Control of Diaphragm Muscle

Physiology (Bethesda). 2018 Mar 1;33(2):113-126. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00002.2018.


Breathing occurs without thought but is controlled by a complex neural network with a final output of phrenic motor neurons activating diaphragm muscle fibers (i.e., motor units). This review considers diaphragm motor unit organization and how they are controlled during breathing as well as during expulsive behaviors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diaphragm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons / physiology*
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological
  • Respiration*