Brainstem amino acid neurotransmitters and ventilatory response to hypoxia in piglets

Dorothy A. Hehre, Carlos J. Devia, Eduardo Bancalari, Cleide Suguihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The ventilatory response to hypoxia is influenced by the balance between inhibitory (GABA, glycine, and taurine) and excitatory (glutamate and aspartate) brainstem amino acid (AA) neurotransmitters. To assess the effects of AA in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) on the ventilatory response to hypoxia at 1 and 2 wk of age, inhibitory and excitatory AA were sampled by microdialysis in unanesthetized and chronically instrumented piglets. Microdialysis samples from the NTS area were collected at 5-min intervals and minute ventilation (VE), arterial blood pressure (ABP), and arterial blood gases (ABG) were measured while the animals were in quiet sleep. A biphasic ventilatory response to hypoxia was observed in wk 1 and 2, but the decrease in VE at 10 and 15 min was more marked in wk 1. This was associated with an increase in inhibitory AA during hypoxia in wk 1. Excitatory AA levels were elevated during hypoxia in wk 1 and 2. Changes in ABP, pH, and ABG during hypoxia were not different between weeks. These data suggest that the larger depression in the ventilatory response to hypoxia observed in younger piglets is mediated by predominance of the inhibitory AA neurotransmitters, GABA, glycine, and taurine, in the NTS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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