Behavioural Control of Breathing in Mammals: Role of the Midbrain Periaqueductal Gray

  • Harl H. Subramanian
  • Ron J. Balnave
  • Chin Moi Chow
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 551)


Brainstem respiratory neurons play a critical role in the generation of basic breathing rhythm in mammals (Richter et al., 2001, Feldman et al., 2003). This basic respiratory rhythm is modified by neurons probably with behaviour roles to support development of emotional expressivity. Such modulatory neurons are thought to be hierarchically organised throughout the neuraxis from the cerebral cortex through to the brainstem and spinal cord (Holstege, 1991a,b). One area within this hierarchy, that has been shown to be involved in motor patterning of defensive behaviour (in rats and cats) and vocalization (in cats) is the midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG) (Carrive et al., 1987, Zhang et al., 1994).


Emotional Expressivity Nucleus Tractus Solitarius Respiratory Frequency Quiet Breathing Tracheal Pressure 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harl H. Subramanian
    • 1
  • Ron J. Balnave
    • 1
  • Chin Moi Chow
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia
  2. 2.School of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesThe University of SydneyLidcombeAustralia

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