Ventilatory roll off during sustained hypercapnia is gender specific in pekin ducks
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The objective of the present study was to examine the relative roles of peripheral versus central mechanisms in producing ventilatory adjustments in pekin ducks during prolonged (5 h) hypercapnia (5% inspired CO2), and to determine whether these adjustments differed between male and female ducks. After 20 min of CO2 exposure, intact ducks increased total ventilation (VE) 2.5-3-fold above control values, due to large increases (approximately 200%) in tidal volume (VT) and slightly smaller increases (approximately 140%) in breathing frequency (fR). This response was accompanied by respiratory acidosis (pHa fell from approximately 7.46 to approximately 7.41) and hypercapnia (PaCO2 increased from approximately 35 to approximately 40 Torr). In males, VE fell progressively thereafter due exclusively to a fall in fR, in parallel with a rapid partial recovery of pH (to 7.44) while PaCO2 continued to climb (to approximately 42 Torr). In females, VE remained elevated during hypercapnia, and no pH recovery occurred. This suggests that a respiratory decline resulting from acid-base compensation (probably due to HCO3- mobilization) occurred in males but not in females. Bicarbonate mobilization, and thus pH compensation, may have been reduced in females due to the CaCO3 requirements of eggshell formation. In males, the acute ventilatory response was reduced slightly by denervation of the carotid bodies or intrapulmonary chemoreceptors, but there was no effect of denervation of either receptor group on the responses to prolonged CO2. We conclude that pH compensation triggered by constant or increasing PaCO2, acting at central chemoreceptors, likely mediates the respiratory adjustments seen in male pekin ducks during hypercapnia. Furthermore, we suggest that this ventilatory response be considered a gender-specific hypercapnic ventilatory roll off, in the context of the various time domains of the hypercapnic ventilatory response.
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