Dyspnea sensation and chemical control of breathing in adult twins

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 May;147(5):1192-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/147.5.1192.


To examine possible genetic influence on the sensation of dyspnea and on load compensation, we conducted a twin study using healthy adult pairs (10 monozygotes, MZ, and 9 dizygotes, DZ). The ventilatory response to progressive hypercapnia (HCVR) was examined under three different conditions: hyperoxia (PETO2 > 150 mm Hg), hypoxia (PETO2 maintained at 50 to 55 mm Hg), and hyperoxia with an inspiratory flow-resistive load (17 mm H2O/L/s), with simultaneous assessment of the dyspnea sensation by visual analog scale (VAS). Although the VDZ/VMZ ratio (VMZ and VDZ are within-pair variances in MZ and DZ, respectively) for the slope value of the minute ventilation-PETCO2 regression line was not different from 1 in hyperoxia either with or without an inspiratory load, it was significantly larger than 1 in hypoxia (F = 5.17, p < 0.05), suggesting that a genetic influence on HCVR existed only in the presence of hypoxia. During 3% CO2 inhalation, the VDZ/VMZ ratio for the tidal volume (VT) was larger than 1 in hyperoxic HCVR with loading (F = 7.89, p < 0.01), and that for respiratory frequency (f) was larger than 1 only in hypoxic HCVR (F = 3.59, p < 0.05). At a PETCO2 of 55 mm Hg, the VT ratio was larger than 1 under all conditions (F = 5.91, p < 0.05; F = 6.99, p < 0.05; F = 3.75, p < 0.05; respectively), and the f ratio was significantly larger than 1 again only in hypoxic HCVR (F = 3.48, p < 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide / physiology*
  • Dyspnea / genetics*
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / physiology*
  • Respiration / physiology*
  • Respiratory Mechanics
  • Sensation / genetics*
  • Twins*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen