Chemoreceptor and vagal influences on genioglossal muscle responses to inspiratory resistive load
The present study was undertaken to determine the mechanisms underlying the involvement of upper airway dilating muscles in compensatory responses to added inspiratory resistive load. Experiments were performed in tracheostomized, anaesthetised rabbits. The effect of inspiratory resistive loading on the electromyographic activity of the genioglossus muscle, the major dilating muscle of the pharynx, was studied in vagotomized and vagally intact rabbits during spontaneous breathing with a hypoxic gas mixture (10% O2 in N2) or oxygen. In the vagally intact animals the peak value and duration of genioglossus muscle inspiratory activity increased in the first loaded breath before any noticeable change in the arterial blood gases. Hyperoxia decreased, whereas hypoxia increased the immediate response of the genioglossus activity to inspiratory loading. Removal of vagal volume-related feedback (by vagotomy) significantly increased the genioglossus muscle activity; the increase being more under hypoxia than under hyperoxia. In contrast to vagally intact animals, there was no first-breath increase in genioglossus activity during loading. The results indicate that the immediate involvement of the genioglossus muscle in response to inspiratory resistive load is mediated by vagal-volume feedback. Baseline oxygen tension before loading modulates the immediate reflex vagal-related response of the genioglossus muscle.