Daily acute intermittent hypoxia (dAIH) elicits respiratory plasticity, enhancing respiratory motor output and restoring breathing capacity after incomplete cervical spinal injuries (cSCI). We hypothesized that dAIH-induced functional recovery of breathing capacity would occur after both acute (2 weeks) and chronic (8 weeks) cSCI, but through distinct cellular mechanisms. Specifically, we hypothesized that dAIH-induced breathing recovery would occur through serotonin-independent mechanisms 2wks post C2 cervical hemisection (C2Hs), versus serotonin-dependent mechanisms 8wks post C2Hs. In two independent studies, dAIH or sham (normoxia) was initiated 1 week (Study 1) or 7 weeks (Study 2) post-C2Hs to test our hypothesis. Rats were pre-treated with intra-peritoneal vehicle or methysergide, a broad-spectrum serotonin receptor antagonist, to determine the role of serotonin signaling in dAIH-induced functional recovery. Our data support the hypothesis that dAIH-induced recovery of breathing capacity transitions from a serotonin-independent mechanism with acute C2Hs to a serotonin-dependent mechanism with chronic C2Hs. An understanding of shifting mechanisms giving rise to dAIH-induced respiratory motor plasticity is vital for clinical translation of dAIH as a therapeutic modality.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Support for this work was provided by grants from: The National Institute of Health (NIH) 5RO1HL069064 (GSM), The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation (BJD, SV) and The Francis Family Foundation (PMM).
- Intermittent hypoxia
- Long-term facilitation
- Spinal cord injury