Involvement of the motor trigeminal nucleus in respiratory phase-switching in the cat
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We investigated the hypothesis that the motor trigeminal nucleus, consisting of expiratory motoneurons, might be influential in termination of inspiration. We addressed the issue by comparing the effects on neural respiration of a reversible, unilateral, pharmacologic blockade of the motor trigeminal nucleus (5M), the medial parabrachial nucleus (PB), and of other nearby structures that are neutral for respiration in anesthetized, vagotomized, paralyzed, and ventilated cats. The blockade was achieved by microinjections of 2% xylocaine, laced with Pontamine Sky Blue to identify sites of injections, from the tip of a penetrating microelectrode. Integrated phrenic neurograms were recorded to quantify the time of neural inspiration (T I), expiration (T E), and the peak phrenic amplitude. We found that blockade of the 5M caused a pattern of apneustic respiration, consisting of a selective prolongation of inspiratory phases that were interrupted by short expiratory pauses. In contrast, blockade of the PB resulted in a prolongation of both T I and T E, which corresponds to a mere slowing of respiration. The results confirmed important functions of the rostral pons in ventilatory control but pointed to the 5M rather than PB as a structure underlying the inspiratory off switch. We conclude that the motor trigeminal nucleus may have a part in the pontine pneumotaxic mechanism.
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M.Pokorski, Department of Neurophysiology, Polish Academy of Sciences Medical Research Center, 3 Dworkowa St., 00- 784 Warsaw, Poland