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J Neurosci. 2007 May 9;27(19):5156-62.

Multifunctional laryngeal premotor neurons: their activities during breathing, coughing, sneezing, and swallowing.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba City, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


To examine whether motor commands of two or more distinct laryngeal motor patterns converge onto a common premotor network, we conducted dual recordings from the laryngeal adductor motoneuron and its premotor neuron within the brainstem respiratory circuitry during fictive breathing, coughing, sneezing, and swallowing in decerebrate paralyzed cats. Expiratory neurons with an augmenting firing pattern (EAUG), whose action potentials evoked monosynaptic IPSPs in the adductor motoneurons, sharply fired during the expulsive phases of fictive coughing and sneezing, during which the adductor motoneurons transiently repolarized. In contrast, these premotor neurons were silent during the swallow-related hyperpolarization in adductor motoneurons. These results show that one class of medullary respiratory neuron, EAUG, is multifunctional and shared among the central pattern generators (CPGs) for breathing, coughing, and sneezing. In addition, although the CPGs underlying these three behaviors and the swallowing CPG do overlap, EAUG neurons are not part of the swallowing CPG and, in contrast to the other three behaviors, are not a source of inhibitory input to adductor motoneurons during swallowing.

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