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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 Sep;101(3):986-92. Epub 2006 May 4.

Pulmonary sensory and reflex responses in the mouse.

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  • 1Pulmonary Div., Department of Medicine. University of Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


Mouse model research is proliferating because of its readiness for genetic manipulation. Little is known about pulmonary vagal afferents in mice, however. The purpose of this study was to determine whether their pulmonary afferents are similar to those in large animals. Single-unit activity was recorded in the cervical vagus nerve of anesthetized, open-chest, and mechanically ventilated mice. We evaluated airway sensory activity in 153 single units; 141 were mechanosensitive, with 134 inflation receptors and 7 deflation receptors. The remaining 12 receptors were chemosensitive and mechanically insensitive, showing low basal firing frequency and behaving like C-fiber or high-threshold Adelta-receptors. In separate studies, phrenic activity was recorded as an index of respiratory drive to assess pulmonary reflexes. Lung inflation produced a typical Hering-Breuer reflex, and intravenous injection of phenylbiguanide produced the typical chemoreflex resulting in apnea, bradycardia, and hypotension. These reflexes were blocked by bilateral vagotomy. We conclude that mice possess a similar set of airway sensors and pulmonary reflexes as typically found in larger animals.

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