The fundamental things apply. “The Peptidergic Control Circuit for Sighing,” recently published in the prestigious journal Nature, has made us rethink our fundamental belief that sighs are only “long, deep breaths expressing sadness, relief or exhaustion.” Often prompting someone to say, “What’s wrong?” As it turns out, sighs “also occur spontaneously every few minutes to reinflate alveoli, and sighing increases under hypoxia, stress, and certain psychiatric conditions.” Thanks to the clever researchers led by Dr. Jack Feldman at UCLA, and their collaborators at Stanford University School of Medicine, we now know a lot more about this process (see Fig. 1 below and Reference Summary).
The Bötzinger Complex plays an important role in controlling breathing and was named by UCLA Professor Jack Feldman in 1978. Feldman named this area after a bottle of white wine named Botzinger present at his table (perhaps he was allowing it to breathe) during a scientific meeting in Hirschhorn, Germany, that year. Jack Feldman named the most rostral portion of the ventral respiratory group and continues to pave the way for important respiratory research. It’s a song we all need to hear, so: Play it again, . . . Jack!
Deservedly, Jack Feldman’s findings went viral. Here are just a few of the links to interviews and commentary:
- The Washington Post: “Scientists uncover the brain mechanism that makes you sigh.”
- The LA Times: “Scientists locate the part of the brain where sighs are made.”
- NPR: “Sorry, Bogie, a Sigh Is Not Just A Sigh.”
- WSJ: “Scientists Pinpoint Brain Chemical Linked to the Sigh.”
- THE GUARDIAN: “A sigh’s not just a sigh — it’s a fundamental life-sustaining reflex.”
- THE ONION: “Sighing a Life-Sustaining Reflex.”
- CBS This Morning: “More than just a sigh.”
Bötzinger Complex References Using ATS Products
- Gray PA, Janczewski WA, Mellen N, McCrimmon DR, Feldman JL. (2001) Normal breathing requires preBotzinger complex neurokinin-1 receptor-expressing neurons. Nat Neurosci 4(9):927-930 (SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- Feldman JL, Mitchell GS, Nattie EE (2003) BREATHING: Rhythmicity, Plasticity, Chemosensitivity. Annu Rev Neurosci 26:239-266 (SERT-SAP, Cat. #IT-23; SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- Wenninger JM, Pan LG, Klum L, Leekley T, Bastastic J, Hodges MR, Feroah T, Davis S, Forster HV (2004) Small reduction of neurokinin-1 receptor-expressing neurons in the pre-Botzinger complex area induces abnormal breathing periods in awake goats. J Appl Physiol 97(5):1620-1628 (SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- Wenninger JM, Pan LG, Klum L, Leekley T, Bastastic J, Hodges MR, Feroah TR, Davis S, Forster HV (2004) Large lesions in the pre-Botzinger complex area eliminate eupneic respiratory rhythm in awake goats. J Appl Physiol 97(5):1629-1636 (SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- McKay LC, Janczewski WA, Feldman JL (2005) Sleep-disordered breathing after targeted ablation of preBotzinger complex neurons. Nat Neurosci 8(9):1142-1144 (SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- McKay LC, Feldman JL (2008) Unilateral Ablation of preBotzinger Complex Disrupts Breathing During Sleep but not Wakefulness. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 178(1):89-95 (SP-SAP, Cat. #IT-07*).
- Montandon G, Qin W, Liu H, Ren J, Greer JJ, Horner RL. (2011) PreBotzinger complex neurokinin-1 receptor-expressing neurons mediate opioid-induced respiratory depression. J Neurosci 31(4):1292-1301 (anti-NK1r Cat. #AB-N04**).
- Gray PA, Hayes JA, Ling GY, Llona I, Tupal S, Picardo MCD, Ross SE, Hirata T, Corbin JG, Eugenin J, Del Negro CA (2010) Developmental origin of preBotzinger Complex respiratory neurons. J Neurosci 30(44):14883-14895 (anti-NK1r Cat. #AB-N04**).