Format of Original
American Physiological Society
Journal of Applied Physiology
Original Item ID
doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00933.2009; PubMed Central: PMCID 2904195
For many years, acetylcholine has been known to contribute to the control of breathing and sleep. To probe further the contributions of cholinergic rostral pontine systems in control of breathing, we designed this study to test the hypothesis that microdialysis (MD) of the muscarinic receptor antagonist atropine into the pontine respiratory group (PRG) would decrease breathing more in animals while awake than while in NREM sleep. In 16 goats, cannulas were bilaterally implanted into rostral pontine tegmental nuclei (n = 3), the lateral (n = 3) or medial (n = 4) parabrachial nuclei, or the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus (KFN; n = 6). After >2 wk of recovery from surgery, the goats were studied during a 45-min period of MD with mock cerebrospinal fluid (mCSF), followed by at least 30 min of recovery and a second 45-min period of MD with atropine. Unilateral and bilateral MD studies were completed during the day and at night. MD of atropine into the KFN at night decreased pulmonary ventilation and breathing frequency and increased inspiratory and expiratory time by 12–14% during both wakefulness and NREM sleep. However, during daytime studies, MD of atropine into the KFN had no effect on these variables. Unilateral and bilateral nighttime MD of atropine into the KFN increased levels of NREM sleep by 63 and 365%, respectively. MD during the day or at night into the other three pontine sites had minimal effects on any variable studied. Finally, compared with MD of mCSF, bilateral MD of atropine decreased levels of acetylcholine and choline in the effluent dialysis fluid. Our data support the concept that the KFN is a significant contributor to cholinergically modulated control of breathing and sleep.