2019 About APS EB 2019 Information

Central Control of Breathing: Gliocentric Mechanisms

Symposium — Sunday, April 7, 2019 — 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM — Convention Center, Room W308CD
Respiration Section — Chair: Gregory Douglas Funk — Co-Chair: Daniel Mulkey
Cosponsored by AJP - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology

A wealth of information has been generated regarding the role(s) of specific groups of neurons within the central nervous system on respiratory rhythm generation, patterning and chemoreception. Recent studies have also shed light on the role of glial cells in these functions. This session will provide new insight into the functional mechanisms whereby astrocytes can modulate the excitability of rhythm generating and chemoreceptive neurons in the medulla to alter or modify respiratory motor output in response to a variety of chemical or metabolic stressors. Dr. Greg Funk will present new data from his group supporting the concept that glial cells within the pre-Botzinger Complex help shape the hypoxic ventilatory response via purinergic mechanisms. Dr. Daniel Mulkey will then provide an update on the roles of astrocytes and purinergic signaling in the regulation of central CO2 chemoreceptors on the ventral surface of the medulla. A novel concept that is supported by his data is that, in response to hypercapnia, astrocytes within the retrotrapezoid nucleus of the ventrolateral medulla release ATP to induce vasoconstriction. This subsequently induces a local increase in CO2 (and decrease in pH) to subsequently facilitate an increase in ventilation. Dr. Shahrirar Sheikhbahaei, a postdoctoral fellow with Jeff Smith at NINDS, will present data from studies using a dominant-negative SNARE protein or light chain of a tetanus toxin to block vesicular release from astrocytes. His results suggest that, along with neurons, astrocytes within the pre-Botzinger facilitate respiratory rhythm and the adaptive responses in conditions of increased metabolic demand. Finally, Liza Severs, a PhD Candidate with Dr. Nino Ramirez at the University of Washington, will present data that sheds new light on the neuroglial interactions that underlie the central hypoxic ventilatory response and sigh generation in the preBötzinger complex. In summary, this diverse group of speakers will present new data, generated by a variety of in vitro, in situ and in vivo techniques, to further support the novel concept that glia play important roles in modulating respiratory motor output, in both normal conditions and in response to blood gas and/or metabolic stress.


  • Central Mechanisms, Glial and Purinergic, Shape the Hypoxic Ventilatory Response
    Greg Funk — Physiology, University of Alberta

  • Update on the Roles of Astrocytes and Purinergic Signaling in the Regulation of Ventral Surface Chemoreceptors
    Daniel Mulkey — Physiology and Neurobiology, University of Connecticut

  • Astrocytes Regulate Brainstem Respiratory Rhythm-Generating Circuits
    Shahriar Sheikhbahaei — Lab of Cellular and Systems Neurobiology Section, NINDS

  • Unraveling Neuroglial Interactions Underlying the Central Hypoxic Response and Sigh Generation in the preB√∂tzinger Complex
    Liza Severs — Center for Integrative Brain Research, University of Washington

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