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Brain Res. 1990 Nov 12;533(1):141-6.

Respiratory interneurons in the C5 segment of the spinal cord of the cat.

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Division of Neuroscience, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT.


Extracellular recordings were made in the C5 segment of the spinal cord of anaesthetised cats from 129 units which showed respiratory phased discharge. The majority of recordings (88%) were thought to arise from the somata of respiratory spinal interneurons. Inspiratory units and expiratory units comprised 42% and 52% of all recorded units. A small number of postinspiratory units were also found (n = 5). Most units did not respond to electrical stimulation of the ipsilateral superior laryngeal (SLN) and phrenic nerves (PN), but a few expiratory (n = 2) and postinspiratory units (n = 1) were excited by SLN stimulation, while 6 inspiratory units had their discharge suppressed by the same stimulus. PN stimulation evoked a long latency (2-7 ms) burst of firing in 2 inspiratory and 1 expiratory interneurons. It is concluded that these respiratory interneurons may provide a segmental input to phrenic motoneurons, in addition to synaptic drives mediated by bulbospinal pathways.

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