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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2004 Aug 20;142(1):43-54.

Pontine respiratory group neuron discharge is altered during fictive cough in the decerebrate cat.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics , University of South Florida Health Sciences Center, Tampa 33612-4799, USA.


A network of neurons in the rostral dorsal lateral pons and pons/mescencephalic junction constitute the pontine respiratory group (PRG) and is essential for reflex cough. As a next step in understanding the role of the PRG in the expression of the cough reflex, we examined neuron firing rates during fictive cough in cats. Decerebrated, thoracotomized, paralyzed, cycle-triggered ventilated adult cats were used. Extracellular activity of many single neurons and phrenic and lumbar neurograms were monitored during fictive cough produced by mechanical stimulation of the intrathoracic trachea. Neurons were tested during control periods for respiratory modulation of firing rate by cycle-triggered histograms and statistical tests. Most respiratory modulated cells were continuously active with various superimposed respiratory patterns; major categories included inspiratory decrementing (I-Dec), expiratory decrementing (E-Dec) and expiratory augmenting (E-Aug). There were alterations in the discharge patterns of respiratory, as well as, non-respiratory modulated neurons during cough. The results suggest an involvement of the PRG in the configuration of the cough motor pattern.

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