Inhibition of skeletal muscle activity by lung expansion in the dog

J. R. Coast, G. S. Thompson, S. S. Cassidy

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13 Scopus citations


The ability of lung expansion to reflexly decrease skeletal muscle activity was tested in anesthetized dogs. In animals whose left lung was vascularly isolated but neurally intact, the left lung was inflated statically to 40 cmH2O pressure or cyclically with tidal volumes of 10, 20 or 30 ml/kg. Responses to these stimuli were compared with those of injecting 120 or 240 μg capsaicin into the left pulmonary artery. Skeletal muscle activity was assessed from the electromyogram (EMG) response of the left hindlimb muscles and from the monosynaptic reflex response to a periodic patellar tendon tap of the right leg (knee jerk). Static inflation and cyclic inflations above 10 ml/kg resulted in significant decreases in both EMG and knee jerk responses. The results indicate that lung expansion is capable of initiating a reflex decrease in skeletal muscle activity. Capsaicin injections caused responses that were similar to those caused by lung inflation, suggesting that at least part of this skeletal muscle reflex response to lung inflation can be attributed to the stimulation of pulmonary C-fibers that could be caused by stretch of the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2058-2065
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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