Development of avian intrapulmonary chemoreceptors

Jason Q. Pilarski, Steven C. Hempleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Although avian intrapulmonary chemoreceptors (IPC) have been studied extensively in adults, the maturation of IPC CO2 sensitivity during development is completely unknown. To begin investigating IPC development we asked two fundamental questions: (1) Are IPC capable of sensing CO2 during early development, and, if so, how early? And, (2) does IPC CO2 sensitivity during early development exhibit postnatal maturation compared to IPC discharge characteristics in adult ducks? We addressed these questions by recording from single IPC Anas platyrhynchos ducklings beginning approximately 6 h prior to internal pipping through 4 days of postnatal development. We then compared mean IPC discharge characteristics during early development with mean IPC activity from adult ducks greater than 12 weeks old. In total, we recorded 28 individual IPC from 5 ducklings and 12 adult ducks. Results show that IPC were capable of responding to rapid step changes in CO2 before hatching occurred, during the paranatal developmental period. We also found that mean IPC activity during early development had increased peak discharge frequencies, greater spike frequency adaptation, and less tonic CO2 sensitivity when compared to adults (P ≤ 0.05). These results suggest that during early development phasic IPC CO2 sensitivity is fully developed, yet tonic IPC CO2 sensitivity exhibits postnatal maturation possibly associated with hatching. These results also suggest that the mechanisms that underlie phasic and tonic IPC action potential discharge, and therefore the degree of partial spike frequency adaptation, may be independent processes with different developmental trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-402
Number of pages10
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Control of breathing
  • Development
  • Hatching
  • IPC
  • Intrapulmonary chemoreceptors
  • Maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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