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Dorsal Respiratory group

Mainly inspiratory neurons
Send impulses to the motor nerves of the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles
Provides the main inspiratory stimulus during normal quiet breathing

Ventral Respiratory Group

Causes inhalation and exhalation
Active when high levels of pulmonary ventilations are required( Exercise)

Caudal Area of the VRG

Area that stimulates external intercostal and diaphragm

Rostral Area of the VRG

Area that stimulates internal intercostal and abdominal muscles

Inspiratory Ramp Signal

Allows for smooth gradual expansion of the lungs
Steepens during exercise

Pontine Respiratory Centers

Modifies the output of the medullary center
Contains two groups of neurons

Pneumotaxic Group

Primary function is to control inspiratory time
Controls the "switch off" point of the inspiratory ramp

Apneustic Group

Sends signals to the DRG causing apneusis
Breathing pattern characterized by prolonged inspiratory gasp with occasional expirations

Hering-Bruer Reflex Control

Acts as a protective mechanism against excess lung inflation
Important in regulating respiratory rate and depth during exercise
Controlled/ Mediated by the phrenic nerve

Deflation Reflex

Activated with sudden collapse of the lungs (I.E. pneumothorax)
Stimulates strong inspiratory efforts

Head's Paradoxical Reflex

Prevents Atelextasis
Causes Tidal Volumes during exercise
Also Responsible for first breaths of a nerborn


A sensory nerve cell activated by changes in the chemical enviroment surrounding the cell

Central Chemoreceptors

Highly responsive chemosensitive nerve cells located in the medulla

Increase in PCO2

this change in PCO2 will cause hyperventilation

Decrease in PCO2

This Change in PCO2 will cause Hypoventilation


if PCO2 rises above ________ the chemoreceptors response is blunted( Shut Down)

200mls per Minute

The lungs have the ability to eliminate approx how much CO2 per minute

Peripheral Chemoreceptors

Small, highly vascular structures known as the carotid and aortic bodies

Carotid Bodies

Licated bilaterally in the bifurication of the common carotid arteries

Aortic Bodies

Ffound in the Arch of the Aorta

Peripheral Receptors

Come in direct contact with arterial blood where as the central receptors are separated from blood by the CSF

Peripheral Receptors

Stimulated by decreased PaO2(Primary Response), increased PaCO2, and Decreased Arterial pH

Hypoxic Drive

when a patient has a PCO2 of less than 50 the central chemoreceptors shut down, leaving the patient to breath using peripheral chemoreceptors


This May occur if the PO2 is increased over 60mmHg.

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