We assessed the effects of chest wall distortion, changes in lung volume, and abolition of airway smooth muscle tone on the discharge patterns of 92 pulmonary slowly adapting receptors (SAR) in decerebrate, spontaneously breathing cats. Distortion resulted from their inspiratory efforts against an occluded airway at functional residual capacity and at increased end-expiratory lung volumes. Approximately 40% of SAR increased discharge frequencies during occlusions. Modulation of SAR discharge during occlusions persisted after administration of atropine to eliminate airway smooth muscle tone. Phasic modulation of SAR discharge was eliminated during no-inflation tests after paralyzing the cats and ventilating them on a cycle-triggered pump. We conclude 1) parasympathetic modulation of airway smooth muscle tone makes no obvious contribution to SAR discharge in spontaneously breathing cats; 2) the no-inflation test (withholding of lung inflation during neural inspiration) in paralyzed and ventilated cats is a valid test for the presence of projections from SAR to medullary respiratory neurons; and 3) in the absence of tidal volume changes, distortion stimulates some SAR. Sensory feedback from receptors in the lung, not just those in the chest wall, may therefore provide information about abnormal chest wall configurations.
- Copyright © 1992 the American Physiological Society