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Influence of vestibular activation on respiration in humansThe purpose of this study was to determine the effects of the semicircular canals and otolith organs on respiration in humans. On the basis of animal studies, we hypothesized that vestibular activation would elicit a vestibulorespiratory reflex. To test this hypothesis, respiratory measures, arterial blood pressure, and heart rate were measured during engagement of semicircular canals and/or otolith organs. Dynamic upright pitch and roll (15 cycles/min), which activate the otolith organs and semicircular canals, increased respiratory rate (Delta2 +/- 1 and Delta3 +/- 1 breaths/min, respectively; P < 0.05). Dynamic yaw and lateral pitch (15 cycles/min), which activate the semicircular canals, increased respiration similarly (Delta3 +/- 1 and Delta2 +/- 1, respectively; P < 0.05). Dynamic chair rotation (15 cycles/min), which mimics dynamic yaw but eliminates neck muscle afferent, increased respiration (Delta3 +/- 1; P < 0.05) comparable to dynamic yaw (15 cycles/min). Increases in respiratory rate were graded as greater responses occurred during upright (Delta5 +/- 2 breaths/min) and lateral pitch (Delta4 +/- 1) and roll (Delta5 +/- 1) performed at 30 cycles/min. Increases in breathing frequency resulted in increases in minute ventilation during most interventions. Static head-down rotation, which activates otolith organs, did not alter respiratory rate (Delta1 +/- 1 breaths/min). Collectively, these data indicate that semicircular canals, but not otolith organs or neck muscle afferents, mediate increased ventilation in humans and support the concept that vestibular activation alters respiration in humans.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Monahan, Kevin D. (Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, United States)
Sharpe, Melissa K.
Drury, Daniel
Ertl, Andrew C.
Ray, Chester A.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology
Volume: 282
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0363-6119
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Neuroscience
Non-NASA Center