Sustained Hypoxia Elicits Competing Spinal Mechanisms of Phrenic Motor Facilitation.
UNLABELLED: Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) induces phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF), a form of spinal motor plasticity. Competing mechanisms give rise to phrenic motor facilitation (pMF; a general term including pLTF) depending on the severity of hypoxia within episodes. In contrast, moderate acute sustained hypoxia (mASH) does not elicit pMF. By varying the severity of ASH and targeting competing mechanisms of pMF, we sought to illustrate why moderate AIH (mAIH) elicits pMF but mASH does not. Although mAIH elicits serotonin-dependent pLTF, mASH does not; thus, mAIH-induced pLTF is pattern sensitive. In contrast, severe AIH (sAIH) elicits pLTF through adenosine-dependent mechanisms, likely from greater extracellular adenosine accumulation. Because serotonin- and adenosine-dependent pMF interact via cross talk inhibition, we hypothesized that pMF is obscured because the competing mechanisms of pMF are balanced and offsetting during mASH. Here, we demonstrate the following: (1) blocking spinal A2A receptors with MSX-3 reveals mASH-induced pMF; and (2) sASH elicits A2A-dependent pMF. In anesthetized rats pretreated with intrathecal A2A receptor antagonist injections before mASH (PaO2 = 40-54 mmHg) or sASH (PaO2 = 25-36 mmHg), (1) mASH induced a serotonin-dependent pMF and (2) sASH induced an adenosine-dependent pMF, which was enhanced by spinal serotonin receptor inhibition. Thus, competing adenosine- and serotonin-dependent mechanisms contribute differentially to pMF depending on the pattern/severity of hypoxia. Understanding interactions between these mechanisms has clinical relevance as we develop therapies to treat severe neuromuscular disorders that compromise somatic motor behaviors, including breathing. Moreover, these results demonstrate how competing mechanisms of plasticity can give rise to pattern sensitivity in pLTF. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Intermittent hypoxia elicits pattern-sensitive spinal plasticity and improves motor function after spinal injury or during neuromuscular disease. Specific mechanisms of pattern sensitivity in this form of plasticity are unknown. We provide evidence that competing mechanisms of phrenic motor facilitation mediated by adenosine 2A and serotonin 2 receptors are differentially expressed, depending on the pattern/severity of hypoxia. Understanding how these distinct mechanisms interact during hypoxic exposures differing in severity and duration will help explain interesting properties of plasticity, such as pattern sensitivity, and may help optimize therapies to restore motor function in patients with neuromuscular disorders that compromise movement.
Devinney, MJ; Nichols, NL; Mitchell, GS
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