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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Aug;93(2):581-91.

Contributions from rostral medullary nuclei to coordination of swallowing and breathing in awake goats.

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Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee 53226, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether neurons in the facial (FN), gigantocellularis reticularis (RGN), and vestibular (VN) nuclei contribute to the regulation of breathing, swallowing, and the coordination of these two functions. Microtubules were chronically implanted bilaterally in goats. Two weeks later during wakefulness, 100-nl unilateral injections were made of mock cerebral spinal fluid or an excitatory amino acid receptor agonist or antagonists. When the agonist, N-methyl-D-aspartic acid, was injected into any nuclei, breathing and swallowing increased transiently (15-30%; P < 0.05), whereas only injections of the antagonist 2,3-dihydroxy-6-nitro-7-sulfamoylbenzo-(f)quinoxaline into VN increased swallowing (20%; P < 0.05). The phase of breathing in which the swallows occurred was not altered by any injections. However, more importantly, injections of the agonist and the antagonists significantly altered (P < 0.05) by 5-50% the respiratory phase-dependent timing and tidal volume effect of swallows on breathing relative to mock cerebral spinal fluid injections. In addition, these effects were not uniform for all three nuclei. We conclude that the FN, RGN, and VN are part of a neural circuit in the rostral medulla that regulates and/or modulates breathing, swallowing, and their coordination in the awake state.

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