Volume 38 (1988) Issue 3 Pages 309-319
Temporal differences in the onset of inspiratory activities between the efferent vagal (superior laryngeal, Xsl) or hypoglossal (XII) and phrenic (Phr) nerves were measured at various levels of chemical stimuli in the halothane-anesthetized, vagotomized, and artificially ventilated rat. The onset of Xsl (XII) inspiratory activities always preceded the abrupt start of the Phr discharge. Hyperoxic hypocapnia due to hyperventilation delayed the start of inspiratory activity (reduction in respiratory frequency) and shortened the difference in onset time between the cranial (Xsl, XII) and Phr nerve discharges (Td). During respiratory stimulation due to asphyxia (progressive hypoxia and hypercapnia), the start of Xsl (XII) inspiratory activity became progressively earlier than that of Phr discharge, which extremely prolonged the Td. Severe asphyxia, however, retarded the start of inspiratory activities with accompanying long Td and slow respiratory frequency. The early but gradually augmenting inspiratory activity of the Xsl (XII) nerve was always followed by large bursts synchronized with Phr discharges during altered chemical stimuli. The termination of inspiratory activity, which occurred simultaneously in the three respiratory nerves, was not significantly affected by changes in chemical stimuli except for extreme hypocapnia. The results indicate that changes in chemical stimuli not only alter the start of inspiratory activity but also influence the transition from the initial slow onset to the final synchronized inspiratory activity in the Xsl (XII) nerve. The apparent dissociation of the onset time between the Xsl (XII) and Phr nerve discharges shows that the temporal aspect of the brain stem process(es) for starting inspiratory activities may not be determined from the trajectory of Phr discharges only.