Behavioural Control of Breathing in Mammals: Role of the Midbrain Periaqueductal Gray
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).
KeywordsEmotional Expressivity Nucleus Tractus Solitarius Respiratory Frequency Quiet Breathing Tracheal Pressure
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