Effects of peripheral arterial chemodernervation on laryngeal reflex-induced apnea were studied in 18 piglets of either sex varying in age from 4 to 63 days. The distal trachea was cannulated with a cuffed endotracheal tube to secure a free airway and permit ventilatory measurements with a pneumotachograph. The proximal trachea was used to introduce fluids into the larynx. Water elicited apnea, bradycardia, and arterial hypertension, whereas saline caused only transient disturbances. Electrical stimulation of the superior laryngeal nerves reproduced, and conduction anesthesia ablated, the effects of water in the larynx. Carotid body contribution to respiratory drive was assessed by the ventilatory responses to increased (100%) and decreased (10%) anbient oxygen concentration. These indicated significant peripheral chemoreceptor ventilatory activity from birth with little further change in the neonatal period. Ventilatory responses to oxygen were ablated by carotid chemodenervation, but there was no change in the duration of laryngeal reflex apnea. We conclude that attenuation of laryngeal-induced apnea during postnatal development is independent of peripheral chemoreceptor activity. Our findings may have relevance to the clinical problem of sudden infant death syndrome, in which carotid body abnormalities have recently been described.
- Copyright © 1979 the American Physiological Society