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Sleep. 1978 Sep;1(1):49-68.

Upper airway function during sleep and wakefulness: experimental studies on normal and anesthetized cats.


Normal (N = 6) and anesthetized (N = 70) cats were used to study the laryngeal abductors, the posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) muscles, during sleep and wakefulness and to investigate sites within the brainstem that influenced PCA and diaphragmatic activity. The findings were as follows: 1. During wakefulness, PCA activity occurred throughout the respiratory cycle but was most intense during inspiration. Both expiratory and inspiratory PCA activity declined during sleep--the former more so than the latter. The decline in abductor activity was maximal in REM sleep. 2. Barbiturate anesthesia, according to the dosage, produced PCA activity patterns characteristic of either wakefulness or sleep. 3. The brainstem between A4 and P14 was mapped with stimulating electrodes. Rostral brainstem sites showed predominantly facilitatory effects of PCA activity; caudal sites produced predominantly blocking effects. 4. PCA facilitation consisted of (a) an increase in the duration of the PCA burst, (b) and increase in the discharge frequency of the PCA motor units, and (c) a recruitment of larger motor units. PCA blocking effects were the opposite, i.e., burst durations were shortened and motor units were decruited. 5. Facilitatory sites produced clear change in intensity and duration of PCA activity at stimulation intensities below those necessary to obtain changes in the intensity of diaphragmatic activity. 6. Stimulation of facilitatory sites during expiration caused phase switching to inspiration. In some cases, stimulation during inspiration caused phase switching to expiration. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the obstructive apneas of sleep and in terms of the neural control of breathing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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