Differential Modulation of Neural Network and Pacemaker Activity Underlying Eupnea and Sigh-Breathing Activities

Andrew K. Tryba, Fernando Peña, Steven P. Lieske, Jean-Charles Viemari, Muriel Thoby-Brisson, Jan-Marino Ramirez
Journal of Neurophysiology. 2008-05-01; 99(5): 2114-2125
DOI: 10.1152/jn.01192.2007

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Many networks generate distinct rhythms with multiple frequency and amplitude characteristics. The respiratory network in the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-Böt) generates both the low-frequency, large-amplitude sigh rhythm and a faster, smaller-amplitude eupneic rhythm. Could the same set of pacemakers generate both rhythms? Here we used an in vitro respiratory brainslice preparation. We describe a subset of synaptically isolated pacemakers that spontaneously generate two distinct bursting patterns. These two patterns resemble network activity including sigh-like bursts that occur at low frequencies and have large amplitudes and eupneic-like bursts with higher frequency and smaller amplitudes. Cholinergic neuromodulation altered the network and pacemaker bursting: fictive sigh frequency is increased dramatically, whereas fictive eupneic frequency is drastically lowered. The data suggest that timing and amplitude characteristics of fictive eupneic and sigh rhythms are set by the same set of pacemakers that are tuned by changes in the neuromodulatory state.

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