Nicole L. Nichols

Learn More
As in other neural systems, plasticity is a hallmark of the neural system controlling breathing. One spinal mechanism of respiratory plasticity is phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF) following acute intermittent hypoxia. Although cellular mechanisms giving rise to pLTF occur within the phrenic motor nucleus, different signaling cascades elicit pLTF under(More)
RATIONALE Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating motor neuron disease causing paralysis and death from respiratory failure. Strategies to preserve and/or restore respiratory function are critical for successful treatment. Although breathing capacity is maintained until late in disease progression in rodent models of familial ALS (SOD1(G93A)(More)
Chemosensitive (CS) neurons are found in discrete brainstem regions, but whether the CS response of these neurons is due to intrinsic chemosensitivity of individual neurons or is mediated by changes in chemical and/or electrical synaptic input is largely unknown. We studied the effect of synaptic blockade (11.4 mM Mg2+/0.2mM Ca2+) solution (SNB) and a gap(More)
We studied the development of chemosensitivity during the neonatal period in rat nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS) neurons. We determined the percentage of neurons activated by hypercapnia (15% CO(2)) and assessed the magnitude of the response by calculating the chemosensitivity index (CI). There were no differences in the percentage of neurons that were(More)
Acute intermittent hypoxia [AIH; 3, 5-min episodes; 35-45 mmHg arterial PO(2) (Pa(O(2)))] elicits serotonin-dependent phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF), a form of phrenic motor facilitation (pMF) initiated by G(q) protein-coupled metabotropic 5-HT(2) receptors. An alternate pathway to pMF is induced by G(s) protein-coupled metabotropic receptors,(More)
We studied the CO(2)/H(+)-chemosensitive responses of individual solitary complex (SC) neurons from adult rats by simultaneously measuring the intracellular pH (pH(i)) and electrical responses to hypercapnic acidosis (HA). SC neurons were recorded using the blind whole cell patch-clamp technique and loading the soma with the pH-sensitive dye pyranine(More)
Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) elicits a form of spinal respiratory plasticity known as phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF). pLTF requires spinal serotonin receptor-2 activation, the synthesis of new brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and the activation of its high-affinity receptor tyrosine kinase, TrkB. Spinal adenosine 2A receptor activation(More)
The neural network controlling breathing must establish rhythmic motor output at a level adequate to sustain life. Reduced respiratory neural activity elicits a novel form of plasticity in circuits driving the diaphragm known as inactivity-induced phrenic motor facilitation (iPMF), a rebound increase in phrenic inspiratory output observed once respiratory(More)
We studied the effect of chronic hypobaric hypoxia (CHx; 10-11% O(2)) on the response to hypercapnia (15% CO(2)) of individual solitary complex (SC) neurons from adult rats. We simultaneously measured the intracellular pH and firing rate responses to hypercapnia of SC neurons in superfused medullary slices from control and CHx-adapted adult rats using the(More)
Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH; three 5-min hypoxic episodes) causes a form of phrenic motor facilitation (pMF) known as phrenic long-term facilitation (pLTF); pLTF is initiated by spinal activation of Gq protein-coupled 5-HT2 receptors. Because α1 adrenergic receptors are expressed in the phrenic motor nucleus and are also Gq protein-coupled, we(More)