Modulation of the respiratory responses to hypoxia and hypercapnia by synaptic input onto caudal hypothalamic neurons

E. M. Horn, T. G. Waldrop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Prior results from this laboratory have demonstrated that the respiratory response to hypercapnia is enhanced by microinjection of GABA antagonists or GABA synthesis inhibitors into the caudal hypothalamus of both cats and rats. However, no evidence was found for modulation of the respiratory response to hypoxia by a hypothalamic GABAergic mechanism. The purpose of the present study was to determine if synaptic input other than GABAergic onto caudal hypothalamic neurons affects the respiratory responses to hypoxia. The respiratory (diaphragmatic EMG) responses to hypoxia (10% O2) and hypercapnia (5% CO2) were recorded in anesthetized rats before and after bilateral microinjection of a blocker of synaptic transmission (CoCl2, 100 mM) or an excitatory amino acid receptor antagonist (kynurenic acid, 50 mM) into the caudal hypothalamus. Both hypoxia and hypercapnia elicited increases in tidal diaphragmatic activity and respiratory frequency prior to the microinjections. The respiratory response to hypercapnia was increased (+ 10.5%) after CoCl2 microinjections, which is consistent with prior results obtained with blockade of GABAergic input. Kynurenic acid did not alter the respiratory response to hypercapnia. A new finding was that the respiratory response to hypoxia was diminished after both CoCl2 (-13.0%) and kynurenic acid (-25.0%) microinjections. The results of this study support our prior findings that neurons in the caudal hypothalamus modulate the respiratory response to hypercapnia. In addition, our findings suggest that an excitatory input acting through excitatory amino acid receptors in the caudal hypothalamus modulates the respiratory responses to hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 21 1994



  • Caudal hypothalamus
  • Cobalt chloride
  • Excitatory amino acid
  • Kynurenic acid
  • Rat
  • Respiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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