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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 May;96(5):1815-24. Epub 2003 Dec 12.

Effects on breathing in awake and sleeping goats of focal acidosis in the medullary raphe.

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Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Our aim was to determine the effects of focal acidification in the raphe obscurus (RO) and raphe pallidus (RP) on ventilation and other physiological variables in both the awake and sleep states in adult goats. Through chronically implanted microtubules, 1) a focal acidosis was created by microdialysis of mock cerebrospinal fluid (mCSF), equilibrated with various levels of CO2, and 2) medullary extracellular fluid (ECF) pH was measured by using a custom-made pH electrode. Focal acidosis in the RO or RP, by dialyzing either 25 or 80% CO2 (mCSF pH approximately 6.8 or 6.3), increased (P < 0.05) inspiratory flow by 8 and 12%, respectively, while the animals were awake during the day, but not at night while they were awake or in non-rapid eye movement sleep. While the animals were awake during the day, there were also increases in heart rate and blood pressure (P < 0.05) but no significant change in metabolic rate or arterial Pco2. Dialysis with mCSF equilibrated with 25 or 80% CO2 reduced ECF pH by the same amount (25%) or three times more (80%) than when inspired CO2 was increased to 7%. During CO2 inhalation, the reduction in ECF pH was only 50% of the reduction in arterial pH. Finally, dialysis in vivo only decreased ECF pH by 19.1% of the change during dialysis in an in vitro system. We conclude that 1) the physiological responses to focal acidosis in the RO and RP are consistent with the existence of chemoreceptors in these nuclei, and 2) local pH buffering mechanisms act to minimize changes in brain pH during systemic induced acidosis and microdialysis focal acidosis and that these mechanisms could be as or more important to pH regulation than the small changes in inspiratory flow during a focal acidosis.

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