Section 7
Chapter 6,324

Respiratory effects of progressive asphyxia in rabbit pups and adult rabbits

Trippenbach, T.; Affleck, R.; Kelly, G.

Journal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology 56(4): 940-947


ISSN/ISBN: 0161-7567
PMID: 6547124
DOI: 10.1152/jappl.1984.56.4.940
Accession: 006323676

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Effects of prolonged airway occlusion were investigated in anesthetized and vagotomized 9-to 15-day-old pups and adult rabbits. The changes and temporal relationships between "integrated" phrenic activity, external intercostal electromyogram (INT), and esophageal pressure (Pes) were examined. Each occlusion resulted in hyperpnea, apnea, and gasping. Blood pressure recorded during the occlusion showed a marked decrease. During hyperpnea, the rate of changes and maximal amplitudes in Pes and INT were similar in both age groups. The increase in integrated phrenic activity (PHR) was significantly greater in young rabbits. In both age groups, changes in INT during gasping followed a similar time course and exceeded those in PHR. Maximal values of the three parameters were concurrent in adults, whereas the increase in INT peaked later than PHR and Pes in rabbit pups. In adult rabbits, PHR, INT, and Pes, during the last gasp, decreased to the values of the first hyperpnea breath. In rabbit pups, Pes of the last gasp decreased significantly below this value while INT was still elevated. This Pes decrease could result from inspiratory muscle dysfunction in the pups. Thus in rabbit pups, 1) greater changes in PHR were necessary to produce a given change in Pes than in adult rabbits; 2) activity of the external intercostal muscles was not efficient in developing pressure under conditions of asphyxia; and 3) the independent activation of diaphragmatic and intercostal motoneurons is not of vagal origin. Additionally, the results led us to conclude that Pes can serve as a close approximation of respiratory drive in adult rabbits. This parameter, however, cannot be used as an index of central inspiratory activity during gasping in rabbit pups.

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