Mild hypoxia increases ventilation, but severe hypoxia depresses it. The mechanism of hypoxic ventilatory depression, in particular, the functional role of the cerebrum, is not fully understood. Recent progress in glial physiology has provided evidence that astrocytes play active roles in information processing in various brain functions. We investigated the hypothesis that astrocytic activation is necessary to maintain the cerebral function and ventilation in hypoxia, by examining the responses of EEG and ventilation to severe hypoxia before and after administration of a modulator of astrocytic function, arundic acid, in unanesthetized mice. Ventilatory parameters were measured by whole body plethysmography. When hypoxic ventilatory depression occurred, gamma frequency band of EEG was suppressed. Arundic acid further suppressed ventilation, and the EEG power was suppressed in a dose-dependent manner. Arundic acid also suppressed hypoxia-induced c-Fos expression in the hypothalamus. We conclude that severe hypoxia suppresses the cerebral function which could reduce the stimulus to the brainstem resulting in ventilatory depression. Astrocytic activation in hypoxia may counteract both cerebral and ventilatory suppression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine