Analysis of entrainment of respiratory rhythm by somatic afferent stimulation in cats using phase response curves

Biol Cybern. 1988;58(4):235-42. doi: 10.1007/BF00364129.


To elucidate how peripheral somatic afferents synchronize the respiratory rhythm to the exercise rhythm, the phrenic nerve activity in the vagotomized, paralyzed, and artificially ventilated cats anesthetized with chloralose-urethane was recorded during electrical stimulation of the superficial radial nerve afferents. At first, a single pulse train was given at various times of the respiratory cycle to obtain a phase-response curve (PRC). The stimulation given at mid to late expiration produced a phase advance, but the stimulation during inspiration produced no measurable phase shifts in most animals (8/10). The maximum phase advance changed depending on the stimulus intensity. The stronger the stimulus intensity, the greater became the maximum phase advance. Repetitive somatic afferent stimulation produced 1:1 entrainment of the respiratory frequency to the repetitive stimulation. Theoretical predictions on the stable entrainment phase and on the entrainment frequency range from the obtained PRC were close to the experimental results. The present study demonstrated the presence of a neuronal circuit synchronizing the respiratory rhythm to the periodic somatic afferents and the manner of how such entrainment occurs.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Immobilization
  • Mathematics
  • Periodicity*
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiology
  • Physical Exertion
  • Radial Nerve / physiology*
  • Respiration*
  • Vagotomy