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Sleep. 2010 Mar;33(3):379-87.

Discharge patterns of human genioglossus motor units during arousal from sleep.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

Single motor unit recordings of the human genioglossus muscle reveal motor units with a variety of discharge patterns. Integrated multiunit electromyographic recordings of genioglossus have demonstrated an abrupt increase in the muscle's activity at arousal from sleep. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of arousal from sleep on the activity of individual motor units as a function of their particular discharge pattern.

DESIGN:

Genioglossus activity was measured using intramuscular fine-wire electrodes inserted via a percutaneous approach. Arousals from sleep were identified using the ASDA criterion and the genioglossus electromyogram recordings analyzed for single motor unit activity.

SETTING:

Sleep research laboratory.

PARTICIPANTS:

Sleep and respiratory data were collected in 8 healthy subjects (6 men).

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

138 motor units were identified during prearousalarousal sleep: 25% inspiratory phasic, 33% inspiratory tonic, 4% expiratory phasic, 3% expiratory tonic, and 35% tonic. At arousal from sleep inspiratory phasic units significantly increased the proportion of a breath over which they were active, but did not appreciably increase their rate of firing. 80 new units were identified at arousals, 75% were inspiratory, many of which were active for only 1 or 2 breaths. 22% of units active before arousal, particularly expiratory and tonic units, stopped at the arousal.

CONCLUSIONS:

Increased genioglossus muscle activity at arousal from sleep is primarily due to recruitment of inspiratory phasic motor units. Further, activity within the genioglossus motoneuron pool is reorganized at arousal as, in addition to recruitment, approximately 20% of units active before arousals stopped firing.

PMID:
20337197
PMCID:
PMC2831433
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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