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Does respiratory rhythm paces brain activity?

On The February 26, 2018

Baptiste Girin

Team Director - Nathalie Buonviso

Abstract :

Cerebral rhythms are known to be involved in numerous functions. Particularly, they could allow brain areas to communicate over long distances. To be efficient, inter-area communication requires the different brain rhythms to be synchronized between areas.
We hypothesize that respiratory rhythm could act as a central clock for cerebral rhythms. If our hypothesis is true, one can expect neuronal activity to be influenced by respiration in a large brain network. This is what we wanted to explore in our study. We have recorded respiration and neuronal activity in different brain areas in the freely-moving rat during different vigilance states. Local field potentials were recorded in six brain areas: olfactory bulb, anterior piriform cortex, CA1 and dentate gyrus of hippocampus, S1 in primary somesthetic cortex and V1 in the visual cortex.

Analyses allowed us to show that: 1) respiration parameters (frequencies and amplitude) are significantly different during the different vigilance states, 2) a respiration-related modulation appears synchronizing the different structures only during periods of quiet wakening, when respiration rhythm is around 2 Hz, 3) Gamma oscillations are respiration-modulated in all brain structures only when olfactory structures are themselves strongly impacted.
These preliminary results reveal a respiratory modulation in a wide cerebral network in the rat. In this condition, respiratory rhythm could serve as a common reference for communication between different brain networks.