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Exp Physiol. 2000 Sep;85(5):527-37.

The preoptic area in the hypothalamus is the source of the additional respiratory drive at raised body temperature in anaesthetised rats.

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  • 1School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, Department of Physiology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK.

Abstract

In mammals that use the ventilatory system as the principal means of increasing heat loss, raising body temperature causes the adoption of a specialised breathing pattern known as panting and this is mediated by the thermoregulatory system in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus. In these species an additional respiratory drive is also present at raised body temperature, since breathing can reappear at low Pa,CO2 levels, when stimulation of chemoreceptors is minimal. It is not known whether the preoptic area is also the source of this additional drive. Rats do not pant but do possess this additional respiratory drive at raised body temperatures. We have therefore tested whether the preoptic area of the hypothalamus is the source of this additional respiratory drive in rats. Urethane anaesthesia and hyperoxia were used in eleven rats to minimise behavioural and chemical drives to breathe. The presence of the additional respiratory drive was indicated if rhythmic diaphragmatic EMG activity reappeared during hypocapnia (a mean Pa,CO2 level of 21+/-2 mm Hg, n = 11), induced by mechanical ventilation. The additional respiratory drive was absent at normal body temperature (37¿C). When the temperature of the whole body was raised using an external source of radiant heat, the additional respiratory drive appeared at 40.6+/-0.5 degrees C (n = 3). In two further rats this drive was induced at normal body temperature by localised warming in the preoptic area of the intact hypothalamus. The additional respiratory drive appeared at similar temperatures to those in control rats in three rats following isolation of the hypothalamus from more rostral areas of the brain. In contrast, the additional respiratory drive failed to appear at these temperatures in three rats after isolating the hypothalamus from the caudal brainstem, by sectioning pathways medial to the medial forebrain bundle. Since the preoptic area is known to contain thermoreceptors and to receive afferents from peripheral thermoreceptors, the results show that this area is also the source of the additional respiratory drive at raised body temperature in anaesthetised rats.

PMID:
11038404
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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