Acute perturbation of Pet1- neuron activity in neonatal mice impairs cardiorespiratory homeostatic recovery

Elife. 2018 Oct 23;7:e37857. doi: 10.7554/eLife.37857.


Cardiorespiratory recovery from apneas requires dynamic responses of brainstem circuitry. One implicated component is the raphe system of Pet1-expressing (largely serotonergic) neurons, however their precise requirement neonatally for homeostasis is unclear, yet central toward understanding newborn cardiorespiratory control and dysfunction. Here we show that acute in vivo perturbation of Pet1-neuron activity, via triggering cell-autonomously the synthetic inhibitory receptor hM4Di, resulted in altered baseline cardiorespiratory properties and diminished apnea survival. Respiratory more than heart rate recovery was impaired, uncoupling their normal linear relationship. Disordered gasp recovery from the initial apnea distinguished mice that would go on to die during subsequent apneas. Further, the risk likelihood of apnea-related mortality associated with suppression of Pet1 neurons was higher for animals with baseline elevated ventilatory equivalents for oxygen. These findings establish that Pet1 neurons play an active role in neonatal cardiorespiratory homeostasis and provide mechanistic plausibility for the serotonergic abnormalities associated with SIDS.

Keywords: SIDS; autoresuscitation; chemogenetics; human biology; medicine; mouse; neonatal; neuroscience; raphe; serotonergic system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apnea / pathology*
  • Brain Stem / pathology*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Homeostasis
  • Mice
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Respiratory Rate*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transcription Factors / analysis*


  • Fev protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors