Activities of the facial, hypoglossal and phrenic nerves were recorded in decerebrate and paralyzed cats. These animals were ventilated with a servo-respirator which produced lung inflations in parallel with phrenic activity. Peak inspiratory phrenic, hypoglossal and facial activities increased in hypercapnia or hypoxia. When pulmonary inflation was prevented, hypoglossal and facial activities increased more than phrenic. Responses to withholding lung inflation differed from those following vagotomy. These differences were observed in expiratory facial and hypoglossal activities and in hypercapnia- and hypoxia-induced changes in facial activity. Administration of pentobarbital or hyperventilation to hypocapnia caused greater suppression of hypoglossal than facial activity; the latter declined more than phrenic activity. The results support the hypothesis than influences from the brainstem reticular formation and from pulmonary stretch receptors are differentially distributed to motoneurons innervating upper airway muscles compared to those of the bulbospinal-phrenic system. The concept that ventilatory activity is influenced by tonic, as well as phasic discharge of pulmonary receptors is discussed.
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