Journal of Physiology
The Physiological Society
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Pioneering experiments revealed that intermittent stimulation of afferent neurons from the carotid bodies elicits long-lasting increased activity of respiratory nerves, a phenomenon known as respiratory long-term facilitation (LTF). Initially observed with episodic electrical stimulation of the carotid sinus nerve, this phenomenon was then extensively demonstrated in rodent experiments via protocols of brief, episodic exposures to periods of hypoxia (i.e. acute intermittent hypoxia; AIH). Then, the realization that AIH could be used as a therapeutic modality to induce neuroplasticity and restore both respiratory and non-respiratory motor function in rats with spinal cord injuries (SCI) motivated translation to human studies. AIH has shown promise as a stand-alone or adjunct therapy to help people with incomplete SCI become stronger, breathe better and walk faster...