Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med 2017 Mar 23;9(2). Epub 2016 Dec 23.
Cellular and Systems Neurobiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
The ongoing process of breathing underlies the gas exchange essential for mammalian life. Each respiratory cycle ensues from the activity of rhythmic neural circuits in the brainstem, shaped by various modulatory signals, including mechanoreceptor feedback sensitive to lung inflation and chemoreceptor feedback dependent on gas composition in blood and tissues. This paper reviews a variety of computational models designed to reproduce experimental findings related to the neural control of breathing and generate predictions for future experimental testing. The review starts from the description of the core respiratory network in the brainstem, representing the central pattern generator (CPG) responsible for producing rhythmic respiratory activity, and progresses to encompass additional complexities needed to simulate different metabolic challenges, closed-loop feedback control including the lungs, and interactions between the respiratory and autonomic nervous systems. The integrated models considered in this review share a common framework including a distributed CPG core network responsible for generating the baseline three-phase pattern of rhythmic neural activity underlying normal breathing. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2017, 9:e1371. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1371 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.