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Type: Thesis
Title: The effects of hypoxia on respiratory sensation and reflexes in healthy subjects : implications for sleep and respiratory disease
Author: Eckert, Danny Joel
Issue Date: 2006
School/Discipline: School of Molecular and Biomedical Science
Abstract: Hypoxia is a common feature of many respiratory disorders including acute severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Hypoxia also occurs during sleep - disordered breathing in conditions such as sleep hypoventilation syndrome and sleep apnea. In most respiratory diseases hypoxia is coupled with increased respiratory load. Compensatory protective mechanisms are activated to oppose these impediments to respiration. However, hypoxia is associated with impaired neurocognitive function and recent studies have demonstrated that hypoxia suppresses respiratory load perception in healthy individuals and asthma patients. These recent findings raise the possibility that a variety of protective physiological reflex responses to increased respiratory load may be impaired during periods of hypoxia. The effects of hypoxia on several of these protective responses and possible mechanisms of respiratory sensory depression by hypoxia are explored in the experiments outlined in this thesis. In the first study, the respiratory related evoked potential ( RREP ) was used to investigate the mechanisms underlying hypoxia - induced suppression of respiratory load sensation in healthy individuals. As a positive control the effects of hypoxia on respiratory load perception to inspiratory resistive loads were also measured. The amplitude of the first and second positive peaks ( P1 and P2 ) of the RREP were significantly reduced during hypoxia. P1 is thought to reflect the arrival of the ascending respiratory signals to the somatosensory area of the cortex. The perceived magnitude of externally applied inspiratory resistive loads was also reduced during hypoxia. These data provide further support that hypoxia suppresses respiratory load perception and suggest that this is mediated, at least in part, by suppression of respiratory afferent information prior to its arrival at the cortex. In the second study, the effects of acute sustained hypoxia on the cough reflex threshold and cough tachyphylaxis to inhaled capsaicin were explored in healthy individuals. Acute sustained hypoxia suppressed cough reflex sensitivity to inhaled capsaicin. This finding raises the possibility that the cough reflex, important for protecting the lungs from inhalation or aspiration of potentially injurious substances and for clearing excess secretions, may be impaired during acute exacerbations of hypoxic - respiratory disease. In the third study, reflex responses of the genioglossus and scalene muscles to brief pulses of negative airway pressure were compared between hypoxia and normoxia during wake and sleep in healthy males in the supine position. Cortical RREPs to the same stimuli were also examined under these conditions. The genioglossus is the largest upper airway ( UA ) dilator muscle and can be reflexively augmented in response to negative UA pressure. A diminished response of this muscle during sleep has been postulated to be a contributing mechanism to obstructive sleep apnea ( OSA ) in individuals with an anatomically narrow UA. Cortical activation ( i.e. arousal ) to sudden airway narrowing in OSA is an important protective response to help restore ventilation during an obstructive event. In this study, genioglossus reflex responses to negative pressure pulse stimuli were maintained during mild overnight hypoxia. Conversely, reflex inhibition of the scalene muscle to the same stimuli was prolonged during hypoxia. In addition, a previously undescribed morphology of the genioglossus negative pressure reflex consisting of activation followed by suppression was observed with greater suppression during sleep than wake. The amplitude of the P2 component of the RREP was also significantly reduced during hypoxia. In summary, the potential mechanisms underlying hypoxia - induced suppression of respiratory load sensation and the effects of hypoxia on several protective respiratory responses have been investigated in healthy subjects. The potential implications of these findings for patients with hypoxic - respiratory disease are discussed.
Advisor: McEvoy, Doug
Catcheside, Peter G.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.)--School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, 2006.
Subject: Sleep apnea syndromes
Sleep disorders
Respiratory organs Diseases
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exception. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available or If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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