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  • 1 Department of Pathophysiology, Jessenius Medical School 037 53 Martin, P.O. Box 34, Slovakia
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The authors present their 30 years’ experience with expiration reflex. The reflex can be elicited from vocal folds by mechanical, chemical or electrical stimulation of the superior laryngeal nerve of man and laboratory animals, except mice and rats. It manifests itself by a short, forcible expiratory effort without a preceding inspiration which is indispensable for cough effort. The role of expiration reflex is to prevent penetration of foreign bodies into airways, expelling phlegm and detritus from subglottal area. The initial inspiration before expiration is undesired and could lead to inspiration pneumonia. The reflex is well known to laryngologists as „laryngeal cough.” Its receptors are small in number, localised mainly in medial margin of vocal folds deep in mucosa which can explain their stability in pathological conditions of the larygx. Afferentiation of the reflex is via laryngeal nerve similarly to sneezing and cough. Expiration reflex is not co-ordinated by a single „centre” but rather by a network system in the brain stem. Its motor pattern is supposedly produced by „multifunctional” population of medullar neurones in Bötzinger complex and the rostral ventral respiratory group involved also in the genesis of breathing and cough. However, in cats also other neurones may play a vital role in production, shaping and mediation of the motor pattern of respiratory reflex, localised in rostral pons, lateral tegmental field or in the raphe medullar midline.

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