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Brain hypoxia preferentially stimulates genioglossal EMG responses to CO2


, : Brain hypoxia preferentially stimulates genioglossal EMG responses to CO2. Journal of Applied Physiology 66(1): 51-56

Although the dominant respiratory response to hypoxia is stimulation of breathing via the peripheral chemoreflex, brain hypoxia may inhibit respiration. We studied the effects of two levels of brain hypoxia without carotid body stimulation, produced by inhalation of CO, on ventilatory (VI) and genioglossal (EMGgg) and diaphragmatic (EMGdi) responses to CO2 rebreathing in awake, unanesthetized goats. Neither delta VI/delta PCO2 nor VI at a PCO2 of 60 Torr was significantly different between the three conditions studied (0%, 25%, and 50% carboxyhemoglobin, HbCO). There were also no significant changes in delta EMGdi/delta PCO2 or EMGdi at a PCO2 of 60 Torr during progressive brain hypoxia. In contrast, delta EMGgg/delta PCO2 and EMGgg at a PCO2 of 60 Torr were significantly increased at 50% HbCO compared with either normoxia or 25% HbCO (P less than 0.05). The PCO2 threshold at which inspiratory EMGgg appeared was also decreased at 50% HbCO (45.6 +/- 2.6 Torr) compared with normoxia (55.0 +/- 1.4 Torr, P less than 0.02) or 25% HbCO (53.4 +/- 1.6 Torr, P less than 0.02). We conclude that moderate brain hypoxia (50% HbCO) in awake, unanesthetized animals results in disproportionate augmentation of EMGgg relative to EMGdi during CO2 rebreathing. This finding is most likely due to hypoxic cortical depression with consequent withdrawal of tonic inhibition of hypoglossal inspiratory activity.

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PMID: 2492986


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