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Nicholas Mellen"The frog inside the rat: medullary networks for the control of breathing"

Abstract :

In mammals, neurons that are necessary for respiratory rhythm generation are distributed bilaterally in ventrolateral medulla.
Efforts to identify a minimal circuit necessary and sufficient for respiratory rhythm generation have been inconclusive, and data suggest that two anatomically separate regions are each capable of determining inspiratory burst timing. Studies in frogs suggest that this dual oscillator structure has been conserved across the vertebrate lineage. To study how the spatially separate, heterogeneous constituents of mammalian respiratory rhythm-generating networks function, I have developed a preparation exposing both networks at the cut surface of an in vitro neonate rat brainstem slab preparation, and have developed optical recording techniques to sample their activity. Insights regarding respiratory network function, as well as the strengths and limitations of optical recording techniques will be discussed. 

Selected publications

Barnes BJ, Tuong CM, Mellen NM.
Functional imaging reveals respiratory network activity during hypoxic and opioid challenge in the neonate rat tilted sagittal slab preparation.J Neurophysiol. 2007 Mar;97(3):2283-92.
Barriere G, Mellen N, Cazalets JR.
Neuromodulation of the locomotor network by dopamine in the isolated spinal cord of newborn rat.
Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Mar;19(5):1325-35.
Mellen NM, Roham M, Feldman JL.
Afferent modulation of neonatal rat respiratory rhythm in vitro: cellular and synaptic mechanisms.
J Physiol. 2004 May 1;556(Pt 3):859-74.

JR Cazalets