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Influence of age, body temperature, GABAA receptor inhibition and caffeine on the Hering–Breuer inflation reflex in unanesthetized rat pups

Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.resp.2013.01.002
  • Lung Inflation
  • Reflex Apnea
  • Body Temperature
  • Rat Pups
  • Bicuculline
  • Bumetanide
  • Caffeine


Abstract We measured the duration of apnea induced by sustained end-inspiratory lung inflation (the Hering Breuer Reflex, HBR) in unanesthetized infant rat pups aged 4 days (P4) to P20 at body temperatures of 32°C and 36°C. The expiratory prolongation elicited by the HBR lasted longer in the younger pups and lasted longer at the higher body temperature. Blockade of adenosine receptors by caffeine following injection into the cisterna magna (ICM) significantly blunted the thermal prolongation of the HBR. Blockade of gama-amino-butyric acid A (GABAA) receptors by pre-treatment with ICM bicuculline had no effect on the HBR duration at either body temperature. To test the hypothesis that developmental maturation of GABAergic inhibition of breathing was modifying the response to bicuculline, we pretreated rat pups with systemically administered bumetanide to lower the intracellular chloride concentration, and repeated the bicuculline studies. Bicuculline still did not alter the HBR at either temperature after bumetanide treatment. We administered PSB-36, a selective adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, and this drug treatment did not modify the HBR. We conclude that caffeine blunts the thermal prolongation of the HBR, probably by blocking adenosine A2a receptors. The thermally sensitive adenosinergic prolongation of the HBR in these intact animals does not seem to depend on GABAA receptors.

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