Superior laryngeal nerve section alters responses to upper airway distortion in sleeping dogs

Aidan K. Curran, Peter R. Eastwood, Craig A. Harms, Curtis A. Smith, Jerome A. Dempsey

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12 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effect of superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) section on expiratory time (TE) and genioglossus electromyogram (EMGgg) responses to upper airway (UA) negative pressure (UANP) in sleeping dogs. The same dogs used in a similar intact study (C. A. Harms, C. A., Y.-J. Zeng, C. A. Smith, E. H. Vidruk, and J. A. Dempsey. J. Appl. Physiol. 80: 1528-1539, 1996) were bilaterally SLN sectioned. After recovery, the UA was isolated while the animal breathed through a tracheostomy. Square waves of negative pressure were applied to the UA from below the larynx or from the mask (nares) at end expiration and held until the next inspiratory effort. Section of the SLN increased eupneic respiratory frequency and minute ventilation. Relative to the same dogs before SLN section, sublaryngeal UANP caused less TE prolongation while activation of the genioglossus required less negative pressures. Mask UANP had no effect on TE or EMGgg activity. We conclude that the SLN 1) is not obligatory for the reflex prolongation of TE and activation of EMGgg activity produced by UANP and 2) plays an important role in the maintenance of UA stability and the pattern of breathing in sleeping dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-775
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Control of breathing
  • Electromyogram
  • Negative pressure
  • Upper airway muscles


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