The effects of diaphragm paralysis on respiratory activity were assessed in 13 anesthetized, spontaneously breathing dogs studied in the supine position. Transient diaphragmatic paralysis was induced by bilateral phrenic nerve cooling. Respiratory activity was assessed from measurements of ventilation and from the moving time averages of electrical activity recorded from the intercostal muscles and the central end of the fifth cervical root of the phrenic nerve. The degree of diaphragm paralysis was evaluated from changes in transdiaphragmatic pressure and reflected in rib cage and abdominal displacements. Animals were studied both before and after vagotomy breathing O2, 3.5% CO2 in O2, or 7% CO2 in O2. In dogs with intact vagi, both peak and rate of rise of phrenic and inspiratory intercostal electrical activity increased progressively as transdiaphragmatic pressure fell. Tidal volume decreased and breathing frequency increased as a result of a shortening in expiratory time. Inspiratory time and ventilation were unchanged by diaphragm paralysis. These findings were the same whether O2 or CO2 in O2 was breathed. After vagotomy, no significant change in phrenic or inspiratory intercostal activity occurred with diaphragm paralysis in spite of increased arterial CO2 partial pressure. Ventilation and tidal volume decreased significantly, and respiratory timing was unchanged. These results suggest that mechanisms mediated by the vagus nerves account for the compensatory increase in respiratory electrical activity during transient diaphragm paralysis. That inspiratory time is unchanged by diaphragm paralysis whereas the rate or rise of phrenic nerve activity increases suggest that reflexes other than the Hering-Breuer reflex contribute to the increased respiratory response.
- Copyright © 1981 the American Physiological Society