Respiratory gas levels interact to control ventilatory motor patterns in isolated locust ganglia

Stav Talal, Amir Ayali, Eran Gefen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large insects actively ventilate their tracheal system even at rest, using abdominal pumping movements, which are controlled by a central pattern generator (CPG) in the thoracic ganglia. We studied the effects of respiratory gases on the ventilatory rhythm by isolating the thoracic ganglia and perfusing its main tracheae with various respiratory gas mixtures. Fictive ventilation activity was recorded from motor nerves controlling spiracular and abdominal ventilatory muscles. Both hypoxia and hypercapnia increased the ventilation rate, with the latter being much more potent. Sub-threshold hypoxic and hypercapnic levels were still able to modulate the rhythm as a result of interactions between the effects of the two respiratory gases. Additionally, changing the oxygen levels in the bathing saline affected ventilation rate, suggesting a modulatory role for haemolymph oxygen. Central sensing of both respiratory gases as well as interactions of their effects on the motor output of the ventilatory CPG reported here indicate convergent evolution of respiratory control among terrestrial animals of distant taxa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb195388
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by an Israel Science Foundation award no. 792/12.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd


  • Central pattern generator
  • Hypercapnia
  • Hypoxia
  • Thoracic ganglia
  • Tracheal system
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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