To determine whether and how the strength of coupling between respiratory and stepping rhythms varies depending on locomotor patterns, correlation analysis was done of diaphragmatic and gastrocnemius muscle activities. In spontaneously breathing cats decerebrated at the precollicular-post-mammillary level, tonic electrical stimulation was delivered to the mesencephalic locomotor region to induce locomotion on a treadmill. Electromyograms were recorded from the left hemidiaphragm and the bilateral gastrocnemius muscles. Various locomotor patterns were elicited by changes in the belt speed of the treadmill and in the intensity of stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region. Cross-correlograms between diaphragmatic and gastrocnemius activities showed that coupling was absent or weak when the cats walked slowly. The strength of locomotor-respiratory coupling tended to increase as the mean stepping interval shortened. When the animals were galloping, the respiratory rhythm was entrained 1:1 with the stepping rhythm. This study showed that the strength of coupling between respiratory and stepping rhythms varied depending on the locomotor patterns elicited, especially on whether the animals were running.
- Copyright © 1989 the American Physiological Society