We tested whether hyperbaric O2 (HBO) has an adverse effect on the hypoxic ventilatory drive. Four groups of rats were exposed for 550 min to O2 at 1.67, 1.90, and 2.15 ATA and to air at 1.90 ATA, respectively. Ventilatory parameters (frequency, tidal volume, and minute ventilation) were measured using whole-body plethysmography, before the hyperbaric exposure, immediately after the exposure, and up to 20 days after the exposure. Resting ventilation was not affected after exposure at 1.90 ATA to air or at 1.67 ATA to O2. HBO at 1.90 and 2.15 ATA caused a reduction of frequency and an elevation of tidal volume at different inspired gases: air, 5% CO2 balance O2, 80% O2, and 4.5% O2. However, minute ventilation on the day after the hyperoxic exposure was not different from the control at either air, 5% CO2, or 80% O2 but was markedly attenuated on the first three breaths at 4.5% O2. The hypoxic ventilation decreased to 48 +/- 13 (SD) and 32 + 11% after 1.90 and 2.15 ATA, respectively. The ventilatory parameters recovered in the days after HBO. We conclude that HBO reversibly depresses the hypoxic ventilatory drive, most probably by a direct effect on the carotid O2 chemoreceptors.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society