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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2006 May;152(1):92-9. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Absence of an hypoxic depression of metabolism in preproenkephalin knockout mice.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA 99004-2431, USA. dboggs@ewu.edu


Opioids inhibit breathing in mammals, especially in newborns, and are also implicated in the control of hypoxic anapyrexia. We measured breathing patterns and metabolic responses to 12% oxygen in six adult male wildtype C57B/6J mice and six preproenkephalin knockout (PPNK-/-) mice in a flow-through respirometer and barometric plethysmograph with ambient temperature maintained in the thermoneutral zone. Breathing air, there was no significant difference between the two groups of mice in ventilation ((.)V), oxygen consumption ((.)V(O(2)), convection requirement ((.)V/(.)V(O(2)), tidal volume (V(t)), frequency (f), or inspiratory time (T(i)); however, PPNK-/- mice had a significantly shorter expiratory time (T(e)). The breathing pattern response to 5% CO(2) was the same between wildtype and PPNK-/- in terms of absolute values, but the % change in V(t) was greater in the wildtype. Breathing 12% O(2), there was no significant difference in V , V(t), f, T(i), T(e) or body temperature between groups, but there was a significant difference in (.)V(O(2) (PPNK-/- 1.24+/-0.05 ml O(2)min(-1) versus 0.91+/-0.05 for wildtype, P<0.001) and % change in (.)V(O(2), (2.3+/-6.6% for PPNK-/- versus -28+/-3.8% for wildtype); in ((.)V/(.)V(O(2)), (54+/-4 versus 78+/-10, P<0.05) and the % change in (.)V/(.)V(O(2), (37+/-9 versus 131+/-28, P<0.01). These data implicate enkephalin as a signaling molecule in the control of hypoxic depression of metabolism in mice.

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