The laryngeal chemoreflex (LCR) was investigated in 21 piglets (ages 6 to 80 days old) with the use of physiologic and histologic techniques. The central projection of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) was determined in 14 animals by use of horseradish peroxidase-wheat germ agglutinin. Ipsilateral labeling of the solitary tract nucleus was seen. The caudal extent of the labeling varied with age. Sensory labeling of the nucleus ambiguus was present bilaterally in three younger animals and unilaterally in older piglets. Bilateral labeling of the nucleus dorsomedialis was seen in all ages. Apneic and cardiovascular response to water stimulation of laryngeal mucosa and the laryngeal adductor reflex (LAR) were examined in 16 piglets. Blunting of the apneic and cardiovascular response was seen after sacrifice of a single SLN. Hypoxia did not significantly affect the LAR or apnea duration in animals with only one intact SLN. A contralateral LAR was found in younger animals. Relevance to the LCR is also discussed.
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