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We examined the role of the upper airway in the regulation of the pattern of breathing in six adult dogs during wakefulness and sleep. The dogs breathed through a fenestrated endotracheal tube inserted through a tracheostomy. The tube was modified to allow airflow to be directed either through the nose or through the tracheostomy. When airflow was diverted from nose to tracheostomy there was an abrupt increase in the rate of expiratory airflow, resulting in prolongation of the end-expiratory pause but no change in overall expiratory duration or respiratory frequency. Furthermore, electromyogram recordings from implanted diaphragmatic and laryngeal muscle electrodes did not show any changes that could be interpreted as an attempt to delay expiratory airflow or increase end-expiratory lung volume. The effects of switching from nose to tracheostomy breathing could be reversed by adding a resistance to the endotracheal tube so as to approximate upper airway resistance. The findings indicate that under normal conditions in the adult dog upper airway receptors play little role in regulation of respiratory pattern and that the upper airway exerts little influence on the maintenance of end-expiratory lung volume.

Original publication




Journal article


J Appl Physiol (1985)

Publication Date





1167 - 1173


Animals, Dogs, Electromyography, Larynx, Muscles, Nose, Pharynx, Respiration, Sleep, Trachea, Wakefulness