Mechanisms underlying induced autoresuscitation failure in BALB/c and SWR mice

W. M. Gershan, M. S. Jacobi, B. T. Thach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Mechanisms underlying failure of autoresuscitation from hypoxic apnea were investigated. Failure was induced by repeated exposure to hypoxia. The influence of maturation was studied in adults, weanlings, and 10- and 5-day- old mice. Mice successful at autoresuscitation (BALB/c) as well as those prone to autoresuscitation failure (SWR weanlings) were studied. Hypoxic apnea was induced with 97% N2-3% CO2, and 21% O2 was given at its onset; electrocardiogram and ventilation were recorded. Hypoxic exposure was repeated if autoresuscitation (recovery of eupnea) occurred. Autoresuscitation failure (death) was induced in all mice. Young BALB/c mice tolerated more trials than older mice. SWR weanlings frequently failed to autoresuscitate on the initial exposure and tolerated fewer repeat trials overall than age-matched BALB/c mice. Induced autoresuscitation failure in all mice appeared to be unrelated to gasping regulation, because both gasp number and amplitude were similar during the failed trial and the previous successful trial. In most mice, failure was associated with absent recovery of heart rate during gasping. In BALB/c mice in particular, this persistent bradycardia was usually due to heart block, which occurred in 95% of failed trials. In addition, heart block occurred with increasing frequency on later successful trials, but conversion to sinus rhythm always preceded successful autoresuscitation. Heart block was also frequent in SWR mice and had similar consequences. BALB/c mice exposed to continuous anoxia survived longer than SWR mice, indicating increased endurance of components of the autoresuscitation mechanism not directly related to the ventilatory function of gasping (e.g., cardiovascular components). We conclude that induced autoresuscitation failure in both strains of mice is unrelated to gasping regulation but may involve impaired cardiac function due to intrinsic characteristics or to deficient O2 transport from lung to heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-685
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992


  • control of breathing
  • gasping
  • heart block
  • hypoxic apnea


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms underlying induced autoresuscitation failure in BALB/c and SWR mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this