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In 19 pentobarbital sodium-anesthetized kittens aged 5-34 days, inspired O2 was reduced from 21 to 6-12%. Respiratory frequency (f) and tidal volume (VT) increased within 30 s. Over 5 min f fell to about 60% below control; VT usually fell but remained above control. Arterial pressure fell in 80% of trials, sometimes before f fell. Arterial CO2 was below control, but raising inspired CO2 to keep expired CO2 at control did not prevent the fall in f and VT. The relation between VT and esophageal pressure or diaphragm electromyogram (EMG) did not change consistently, nor was the ratio of high to low frequencies in the diaphragm EMG altered. Carotid chemoreceptor discharge increased within 15 s, and at 5 min it was much above control. We conclude that the change in the breathing pattern in hypoxia is probably due to the activation of a central mechanism.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of applied physiology: respiratory, environmental and exercise physiology

Publication Date





12 - 17


Abdominal Muscles, Diaphragm, Intercostal Muscles, Esophagus, Carotid Body, Phrenic Nerve, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Cats, Carbon Dioxide, Electromyography, Blood Pressure, Respiration, Pressure, Female, Male, Chemoreceptor Cells, Hypoxia