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Neurosci Res. 1991 Dec;12(4):471-85.

The Bötzinger complex as the pattern generator for retching and vomiting in the dog.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki, Japan.


To clarify the location of the pattern generator for the emetic act, the bulb was systematically stimulated and partially cut in decerebrate, paralyzed dogs. Stimulation of the following bulbar structures elicited the activities which could be recognized as retching and vomiting in the following muscle nerves. The bulbar structures were: the intra-bulbar bundle of the vagal afferents, the solitary tract and the medial subdivision of its nucleus (NTS), the area postrema, the commissural nucleus, the raphe area at the obex level, and the longitudinal reticular column which consists of 3 areas--the area between the caudal parts of the solitary complex (SC) and the nucleus ambiguus, the area ventromedial to the rostral part of the nucleus and the area dorsomedial to the retrofacial nucleus (RFN) which may correspond to the Bötzinger complex (BOT). The muscle nerves were: the phrenic branches to the dome and hiatal parts of the diaphragm, the abdominal muscle nerve, the pharyngo-esophageal branch of the vagus nerve, the mylohyoid muscle nerve, and the recurrent nerve branches to the adductors and abductor of the glottis. Emetic responses to stimulation of the vagal ventral trunk and the rostral SC still remained after cutting of the bilateral SCs at about 1 mm rostral to the obex, but disappeared after cutting at about 3.5 mm rostral to the obex. After the rostral cuts, stimulation of the SC part caudal to the cuts and the reticular column still induced the emetic act. Emetic responses to stimulation of the caudal SC remained after transection of the bulb at the rostral end of the RFN, but disappeared after transection at its caudal end or after partial cutting of the caudal BOT. The following hypothesis was proposed from these results. Emetic vagal afferents enter the rostral bulb, then descend through the SC to the area subpostrema. Subpostrema neurons project through the reticular column to the pattern generator of the emetic act in the BOT and activate it.

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