We investigated the effects of selective large changes in the acid-base environment of medullary chemoreceptors on the control of exercise hyperpnea in unanesthetized goats. Four intact and two carotid body-denervated goats underwent cisternal perfusion with mock cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of markedly varying [HCO-3] (CSF [H+] = 21-95 neq/l; pH 7.68-7.02) until a new steady state of alveolar hypo- or hyperventilation was reached [arterial PCO2 (PaCO2) = 31-54 Torr]. Perfusion continued as the goats completed two levels of steady-state treadmill walking [2 to 4-fold increase in CO2 production (VCO2)]. With normal acid-base status in CSF, goats usually hyperventilated slightly from rest through exercise (-3 Torr PaCO2, rest to VCO2 = 1.1 l/min). Changing CSF perfusate [H+] changed the level of resting PaCO2 (+6 and -4 Torr), but with few exceptions, the regulation of PaCO2 during exercise (delta PaCO2/delta VCO2) remained similar regardless of the new ventilatory steady state imposed by changing CSF [H+]. Thus the gain (slope) of the ventilatory response to exercise (ratio of change in alveolar ventilation to change in VCO2) must have increased approximately 15% with decreased resting PaCO2 (acidic CSF) and decreased approximately 9% with increased resting PaCO2 (alkaline CSF). A similar effect of CSF [H+] on resting PaCO2 and on delta PaCO2/VCO2 during exercise also occurred in two carotid body-denervated goats. Our results show that alteration of the gain of the ventilatory response to exercise occurs on acute alterations in resting PaCO2 set point (via changing CSF [H+]) and that the primary stimuli to exercise hyperpnea can operate independently of central or peripheral chemoreception.
- Copyright © 1988 the American Physiological Society