• Judith A. Neubauer
  • Professor
  • Department: Department of Medicine
  • Program(s): Physiology and Integrative Biology Graduate Program
  • Phone: 1.7322358961
  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Medical Education Bldg, Room 559
  • 1 Robert Wood Johnson Place
  • New Brunswick, NJ 08854
  • Key Words: Respiratory and sympathetic responses to brain hypoxia with implications for sleep apnea

Studies determining mechanisms involved in modulation of hypoxic chemosensitivity are important for understanding changes in ventilatory control and sympathetic activity associated with conditions resulting in chronic sustained and intermittent hypoxia such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Chronic hypoxia (CH) and chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) result in changes in sympathetic and respiratory responses to acute hypoxia which we propose arise because of adaptations in the hypoxic sensitivity of the C1 sympathoexcitatory and the pre-Bötzinger complex (pre-BötC) located in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM). These two regions have been shown to be sensitive to hypoxia increasing sympathetic activity or producing sighs and gasps in response to local hypoxia. Our work has established that this hypoxic sensitivity is dependent on the activity of the oxygen sensing enzyme heme oxygenase (HO). The induction of HO-1 closely corresponds to the restoration of the sympathetic and sigh responses to prolonged exposure to hypoxia. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms controlling the induction of HO-1 in these RVLM regions and how HO regulates respiratory and sympathetic responses through changes in their sensitivity brain hypoxia.