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    Interacting oscillations in neural control of breathing: modeling and qualitative analysis.
    J Comput Neurosci 2011 Jun 7;30(3):607-32. Epub 2010 Oct 7.
    Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, 301 Thackeray Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.
    In mammalian respiration, late-expiratory (late-E, or pre-inspiratory) oscillations emerge in abdominal motor output with increasing metabolic demands (e.g., during hypercapnia, hypoxia, etc.). These oscillations originate in the retrotrapezoid nucleus/parafacial respiratory group (RTN/pFRG) and couple with the respiratory oscillations generated by the interacting neural populations of the Bötzinger (BötC) and pre-Bötzinger (pre-BötC) complexes, representing the kernel of the respiratory central pattern generator. Recently, we analyzed experimental data on the generation of late-E oscillations and proposed a large-scale computational model that simulates the possible interactions between the BötC/pre-BötC and RTN/pFRG oscillations under different conditions. Here we describe a reduced model that maintains the essential features and architecture of the large-scale model, but relies on simplified activity-based descriptions of neural populations. This simplification allowed us to use methods of dynamical systems theory, such as fast-slow decomposition, bifurcation analysis, and phase plane analysis, to elucidate the mechanisms and dynamics of synchronization between the RTN/pFRG and BötC/pre-BötC oscillations. Three physiologically relevant behaviors have been analyzed: emergence and quantal acceleration of late-E oscillations during hypercapnia, transformation of the late-E activity into a biphasic-E activity during hypercapnic hypoxia, and quantal slowing of BötC/pre-BötC oscillations with the reduction of pre-BötC excitability. Each behavior is elicited by gradual changes in excitatory drives or other model parameters, reflecting specific changes in metabolic and/or physiological conditions. Our results provide important theoretical insights into interactions between RTN/pFRG and BötC/pre-BötC oscillations and the role of these interactions in the control of breathing under different metabolic conditions.

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    Late-expiratory activity: emergence and interactions with the respiratory CpG.
    J Neurophysiol 2010 Nov 8;104(5):2713-29. Epub 2010 Sep 8.
    Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA.
    The respiratory rhythm and motor pattern are hypothesized to be generated by a brain stem respiratory network with a rhythmogenic core consisting of neural populations interacting within and between the pre-Bötzinger (pre-BötC) and Bötzinger (BötC) complexes and controlled by drives from other brain stem compartments. Our previous large-scale computational model reproduced the behavior of this network under many different conditions but did not consider neural oscillations that were proposed to emerge within the retrotrapezoid nucleus/parafacial respiratory group (RTN/pFRG) and drive preinspiratory (or late-expiratory, late-E) discharges in the abdominal motor output. Here we extend the analysis of our previously published data and consider new data on the generation of abdominal late-E activity as the basis for extending our computational model. Read More
    Central chemoreceptor modulation of breathing via multipath tuning in medullary ventrolateral respiratory column circuits.
    J Neurophysiol 2012 Jan 12;107(2):603-17. Epub 2011 Oct 12.
    Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612-4799, USA.
    Ventrolateral respiratory column (VRC) circuits that modulate breathing in response to changes in central chemoreceptor drive are incompletely understood. We employed multielectrode arrays and spike train correlation methods to test predictions of the hypothesis that pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC) and retrotrapezoid nucleus/parafacial (RTN-pF) circuits cooperate in chemoreceptor-evoked tuning of ventral respiratory group (VRG) inspiratory neurons. Central chemoreceptors were selectively stimulated by injections of CO(2)-saturated saline into the vertebral artery in seven decerebrate, vagotomized, neuromuscularly blocked, and artificially ventilated cats. Read More
    Central nervous mechanisms in the generation of the pattern of breathing.
    Arch Ital Biol 2005 Sep;143(3-4):207-14
    Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiologiche, Università di Firenze, Viale G.B. Morgagni 63, I-50134 Firenze, Italy.
    The role of the Bötzinger complex (BötC) and the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC) in the genesis of the breathing pattern was investigated in anesthetized, vagotomized, paralysed and artificially ventilated rabbits making use of bilateral microinjections of kainic acid (KA) and excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptor antagonists. KA microinjections into either the BötC or the pre-BötC transiently eliminated respiratory rhythmicity in the presence of tonic phrenic activity (tonic apnea). Rhythmic activity resumed as low-amplitude, high-frequency irregular oscillations, superimposed on tonic inspiratory activity and displayed a progressive, although incomplete recovery. Read More
    Postsynaptic mechanisms of CO(2) responses in parafacial respiratory neurons of newborn rats.
    J Physiol 2012 Apr 6;590(7):1615-24. Epub 2012 Feb 6.
    Department of Physiology, Showa University School of Medicine, 1-5-8 Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 142, Japan.
    The parafacial respiratory group (pFRG) in the rostral ventrolateral medulla of the newborn rat is predominantly composed of pre-inspiratory (Pre-I) neurons and is involved in respiratory rhythm generation. The subgroup located close to the ventral surface (at least partially overlapping the retrotrapezoid nucleus, RTN) expresses the Phox2b transcription factor and responds to hypercapnic stimulation with strong depolarization, which suggests it has a role in central chemoreception. Although a CO(2) response of pFRG/RTN neurons has been confirmed in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX), it is unknown whether the depolarization involved in this response is induced by a direct postsynaptic response of pFRG/RTN neurons or by any presynaptic components mediated by Ca(2+)-dependent mechanisms. Read More