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Pediatr Res. 1979 Oct;13(10):1144-9.

Laryngeal chemoreflex in newborn lambs: respiratory and swallowing response to salts, acids, and sugars.


The laryngeal chemoreflex was tested in a standardized manner in eighteen 1- to 6-day-old lambs. The respiratory and swallowing components of the reflex response to chemical solutions introduced to the larynx were quantified to characterize the function of the receptors and to elucidate what kind of receptors most likely are involved. A relationship between the strength of the stimulus and the respiratory response was found. The response was suppressed with the addition of small amounts of CaCl2, NaCl, and LiCl. NaCl, 0.3--0.6 M, 0.15 M NaCl titrated to a pH of 3--5 with hydrochloric or acetic acid, and 0.25--1.0 M glucose in 0.15 M NaCl elicited the reflex response. A quantitative separation was seen in the respiratory response to equimolar concentrations of the salt solutions as well as to the acid solutions in normal saline with equal pH. The response to glucose was significantly reduced after application of potassium gymnemate (P less than 0.001). A direct relationship between the amount of swallowing and the respiratory response was found (r = 0.83). The laryngeal chemoreflex responses to the stimuli used have certain functional characteristics that are similar to taste receptor responses. This would suggest that the taste bud-like structures present in the laryngeal area are likely receptors for mediation of the reflex.

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