The response of respiratory motor neurons to graded elastic loading was assessed in anesthetized dogs by recording the electromyogram (EMG) from the diaphragm (ED) and the intercostal muscle (EIC). Elastic loads were applied for 1-20 breaths. The effects of changes in PCO2 on respiratory motor neuron output was assessed by applying loads during the course of CO2 rebreathing. On the first loaded breath, ED and EIC increased reflexly due chiefly to prolongation of inspiration. Vagotomy or vagal cooling to block the Hering-Breuer reflex eliminated the increase in ED and diminished the increase in EIC. During the second to fifth breath, the level of EMG activity was disproportionately high for the level of PCO2, suggesting an additional reflex component over and above the reflex activity present on the first loaded breath.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Physiological Society