Effect of waveforms of inspired gas tension on the respiratory oscillations of carotid body discharge

P Kumar, P C Nye, R W Torrance

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The responses of carotid body chemoreceptor discharge to repeated ramps (20- to 60-s forcing cycle durations) of inspired gas tensions were studied in spontaneously breathing and in artificially ventilated pentobarbitone-anesthetized cats. In all animals the mean intensity of chemoreceptor discharge followed the frequency of the forcing cycle, and superimposed on this were oscillations at the frequency of ventilation (breath-by-breath oscillations). The amplitude of the breath-by-breath oscillations in discharge was often large, and it waxed and waned with the forcing cycle. It was greatest when the mean level of discharge was falling and smallest near the peak of mean discharge. No qualitative differences were observed between PO2-alone forcing in constant normocapnia and PCO2-alone forcing in constant hypoxia. The variation in the amplitudes of breath-by-breath oscillations was shown to be due primarily to variations in the amplitudes of the downslope component of the discharge oscillation. Variations in the upslope component of individual oscillations were small. The factors responsible for the breath-by-breath oscillations are discussed, and it is concluded that the shape of the waveform of arterial gas tensions that stimulate the peripheral chemoreceptors departs markedly from that of a line joining end-tidal gas tensions. This causes breath-by-breath oscillations of discharge to be very large after an "off" stimulus. Reflex studies involving the forcing of respiratory gases should therefore include consideration of these effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991


  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carotid Body
  • Cats
  • Chemoreceptor Cells
  • Gases
  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pulmonary Alveoli
  • Respiration
  • Respiration, Artificial


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