Intermittent but not sustained moderate hypoxia elicits long-term facilitation of hypoglossal motor output

Julia E.R. Wilkerson, Michael Devinney, Gordon S. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF) is a form of serotonin-dependent respiratory motor plasticity induced by moderate acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH), but not by moderate acute sustained hypoxia (ASH) of similar cumulative duration. Thus, moderate AIH-induced pLTF is sensitive to the pattern of hypoxia. On the other hand, pLTF induced by severe AIH protocols is neither pattern sensitive nor serotonin dependent (it converts to an adenosine-dependent mechanism). Although moderate AIH also induces hypoglossal LTF (hLTF), no data are available concerning its sensitivity/insensitivity to the pattern of hypoxia. Since hLTF following moderate hypoxia is serotonin-dependent, we hypothesized that hLTF is pattern-sensitive, similar to serotonin-dependent pLTF. Integrated hypoglossal nerve activity was recorded in urethane-anesthetized, vagotomized, paralyzed, and ventilated rats exposed to isocapnic AIH (3, 5 min episodes of 11% O2) or ASH (a single 25 min episode of 11% O2). Similar to previous studies of pLTF, hypoglossal motor output was elevated for more than 1 h following AIH (50 ± 20%, p < 0.01), but not ASH (–6 ± 9%, p > 0.05). Frequency LTF was not observed following either hypoxic exposure. Thus, in agreement with our hypothesis, hypoglossal LTF following moderate AIH is pattern-sensitive, similar to phrenic LTF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-20
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Control of breathing
  • Hypoxia
  • Pattern
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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