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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2010 Dec;109(6):1820-6. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01378.2009. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Effects of postnatal smoke exposure on laryngeal chemoreflexes in newborn lambs.

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  • 1Neonatal Respiratory Research Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Universit√© de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.


Laryngeal chemoreflexes (LCR), which are elicited by the contact of liquids such as gastric refluxate with laryngeal mucosa, may trigger some cases of sudden infant death syndrome. Indeed, while LCR in mature mammals consist of protective responses, previous animal data have shown that LCR in immature newborns can include laryngospasm, apnea, bradycardia, and desaturation. The present study was aimed at testing the hypothesis that postnatal exposure to cigarette smoke is responsible for enhancing cardiorespiratory inhibition observed with LCR. Eight lambs were exposed to cigarette smoke (20 cigarettes/day) over 16 days and compared with seven control lambs. Urinary cotinine/creatinine ratio was measured at a level relevant to previously published levels in infants. On days 15 and 16, 0.5 ml of HCl (pH 2), milk, distilled water, or saline was injected onto the larynx via a chronic supraglottal catheter during sleep. Results showed that exposure to cigarette smoke enhanced respiratory inhibition (P < 0.05) and tended to enhance cardiac inhibition and decrease swallowing and arousal during LCR (P < 0.1). Overall, these results were observed independently of the state of alertness and the experimental solution tested. In conclusion, 16-day postnatal exposure to cigarette smoke increases cardiorespiratory inhibition and decreases protective mechanisms during LCR in nonsedated full-term lambs.

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