Triangularis sterni and phrenic nerve responses to progressive brain hypoxia

L. O. Chae, J. E. Melton, J. A. Neubauer, N. H. Edelman

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6 Scopus citations


Activity of the respiratory muscles that are not normally active during eupnea (genioglossal and abdominal) has been shown to be more vulnerable to hypoxic depression than inspiratory diaphragmatic activity. We hypothesized that respiratory muscles that are active at eupnea would be equally vulnerable to isocapnic progressive brain hypoxia (PBH). Phrenic (PHR) and triangularis sterni nerve (TSN) activity were recorded in anesthetized peripherally chemodenervated vagotomized ventilated cats. Hypercapnia [arterial PCO2 (Pa(CO2)) = 57 ± 3 (SE) Torr] produced parallel increases in peak PHR and TSN activity. PBH [0.5% CO-40% O2-59.5% N2, arterial O2 content (Ca(O2)) reduced from 13.1 ± 1.0 to 3.7 ± 0.3 vol%] resulted in parallel decreases of peak PHR and TSN activity to neural apnea. PBH was continued until PHR gasping ensued (Ca(O2) = 2.9 ± 0.2 vol%); TSN activity remained silent during gasping. After 6-12 min of recovery (95% O2-5% CO2; Ca(O2) = 7.8 ± 0.8 vol%; Pa(CO2) = 55 ± 2 Torr), peak PHR activity was increased to 110 ± 18% (% of activity at 9% CO2) whereas peak TSN activity was augmented to 269 ± 89%. The greater augmentation of TSN activity during the recovery period could not be explained solely by hypercapnia. In conclusion, we found that 1) TSN expiratory and PHR inspiratory activities are equally vulnerable to hypoxic depression and 2) recovery from severe hypoxia is characterized by a profound augmentation of TSN expiratory activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1522-1528
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


  • carbon monoxide
  • cat
  • expiratory nerves
  • reoxygenation
  • respiratory gasping


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