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J Neurophysiol. 1993 May;69(5):1784-7.

Timing of medullary late-inspiratory neuron discharges: vagal afferent effects indicate possible off-switch function.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461.


1. In decerebrate paralyzed cats, we observed the responses of ventral and dorsal medullary inspiratory (I) neurons to two types of vagal afferent input that shorten neural I: lung inflation and vagal electrical stimulation. 2. A study population of 15 I neurons whose firing patterns suggested involvement in the inspiratory OFF-switch (IOS) was selected on the basis of two criteria: late onset of firing and excitation by vagal inputs. 3. Firing in relation to the end of I showed two types of response to vagal inputs. The pre-expiratory onset time (time from initial spike to end of I) was either unchanged (type 1 response in 5/15 neurons) or significantly changed (type 2 response in 10/15 neurons). 4. It is suggested that type 1 neurons, whose firing patterns remain closely locked to the end of I despite considerable changes of I duration, are involved in promoting the IOS, whereas type 2 neurons are either not involved (e.g., late-onset premotor neurons) or are involved at an earlier temporal processing stage.

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