Experimental Biology, Washington, DC, USA, April 2004.
Crossing the apnoeic threshold: causes and consequences
Article first published online: 21 DEC 2004
Volume 90, Issue 1, pages 13–24, January 2005
How to Cite
Dempsey, J. A. (2005), Crossing the apnoeic threshold: causes and consequences. Experimental Physiology, 90: 13–24. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2004.028985
- Issue published online: 21 DEC 2004
- Article first published online: 21 DEC 2004
- (Received 14 September 2004; accepted after revision 22 October 2004; first published online 30 November 2004)
This brief review addresses the characteristics, lability and the mechanisms underlying the hypocapnic-induced apnoeic threshold which is unmasked during NREM sleep. The role of carotid chemoreceptors as fast, sensitive detectors of dynamic changes in CO2 is emphasized and placed in historical context of the long-held debate over central vs. peripheral contributions to CO2 sensing and to apnoea. Finally, evidence is presented which points to a significant role for unstable, central respiratory motor output as a significant contributor to upper airway narrowing and obstruction during sleep.