Consequences of postural changes and removal of vestibular inputs on the movement of air in and out of the lungs of conscious felines

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh, Eye and Ear Institute, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Journal of Applied Physiology (Impact Factor: 3.06). 08/2007; 103(1):347-52. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00211.2007
Source: PubMed


A variety of experimental approaches in human subjects and animal models established that the vestibular system contributes to regulation of respiration. In cats, the surgical elimination of labyrinthine signals produced changes in the spontaneous activity and posturally related responses of a number of respiratory muscles. However, these effects were complex and sometimes varied between muscle compartments, such that the physiological role of vestibulo-respiratory responses is unclear. The present study determined the functional significance of vestibulo-respiratory influences by examining the consequences of a bilateral labyrinthectomy on breathing rate and the pressure, volume, and flow rate of air exchanged during inspiration and expiration as body orientation with respect to gravity was altered. Data were collected from conscious adult cats acclimated to breathing through a facemask connected to a pneuomotach during 60 degrees head-up pitch and ear-down roll body rotations. Removal of vestibular inputs resulted in a 15% reduction in breathing rate, a 13% decrease in minute ventilation, a 16% decrease in maximal inspiratory airflow rate, and a 14% decrease in the maximal expiratory airflow rate measured when the animals were in the prone position. However, the lesions did not appreciably affect phasic changes in airflow parameters related to alterations in posture. These results suggest that the role of the vestibular system in the control of breathing is to modify baseline respiratory parameters in proportion to the general intensity of ongoing movements, and not to rapidly alter ventilation in accordance with body position.

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    • "Animals underwent an aseptic surgery that employed standard techniques and incorporated anesthetic and post-surgical procedures we have employed in many previous studies (e.g., Wilson et al., 2006; Arshian et al., 2007). A fixation plate was mounted on the skull so that the head could subsequently be immobilized during recordings. "
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