Effects of CO2 and H+ on laryngeal receptor activity in the perfused larynx in anaesthetized cats
- 1Intralaryngeal CO2 reflexly decreases ventilation and increases upper airway muscle activity. Topical anaesthesia of the laryngeal mucosa or cutting the superior laryngeal nerves (SLNs) abolishes these reflexes, indicating that the receptors responsible are superficially located and that their afferent fibres are in the SLN. Intralaryngeal CO2 affects the activity of receptors recorded from the SLN.
- 2An isolated, luminally perfused laryngeal preparation was developed in anaesthetized, paralysed cats in order to compare the effects of solutions with varying levels of pH and PCO2 on pressure-sensitive laryngeal receptor activity. Since the pH of tracheal surface fluid is reported to be approximately 7.0, two neutral (pH 7.4 and 7.0) and two acidic (pH 6.8 and 6.3) solutions were used.
- 3Compared with neutral acapnic control solutions, neutral hypercapnic (PCO2 64 mmHg) solutions either excited or inhibited the discharge of 113 out of 211 pressure-sensitive SLN afferents. In 24 receptors, the effects of hypercapnic solutions with either neutral or acidic pH were similar in both direction and magnitude. In 50 receptors affected by neutral hypercapnic solutions, acidic acapnic solutions had no effect on 66 % of units and significantly smaller effects in the remaining units. In 17 receptors, the effects of neutral solutions with a PCO2 of 35 mmHg were significantly less than for neutral solution with a PCO2 of 64 mmHg.
- 4These results show that the effects of CO2 on laryngeal pressure-sensitive receptors are independent of the pH of the perfusing media, and suggest that acidification of the receptor cell or its microenvironment is the main mechanism of CO2 chemoreception.