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The ventilatory response to hypoxia and hypercapnia is absent in the neonatal fat-tailed dunnart


Simpson, SJ and Fong, AY and Cummings, KJ and Frappell, PB, The ventilatory response to hypoxia and hypercapnia is absent in the neonatal fat-tailed dunnart, Journal of Experimental Biology, 215, (24) pp. 4242-4247. ISSN 0022-0949 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The Company of Biologists

DOI: doi:10.1242/jeb.072413


At birth, the newborn fat-tailed dunnart relies on cutaneous gas exchange to meet metabolic demands, with continuous lung ventilation emerging several days later. We hypothesized that the delayed expression of lung ventilation ( E V & ) in these animals is in part owing to a low responsiveness of the respiratory control system to blood gas perturbations. To address this hypothesis we assessed the ventilatory and metabolic response to hypoxia (10% O2) and hypercapnia (5% CO2) using closed-system respirometry from birth to 23 days postpartum (P). Neonatal fat-tailed dunnarts displayed no significant hypoxic or hypercapnic ventilatory responses at any age. Regardless, significant hyperventilation through a suppression of metabolic rate ( 2 O V & ) was observed at birth in response to hypercapnia and in response to hypoxia at all ages, except P12. Therefore, reliance on cutaneous gas exchange during early life may be partially attributed to reduced chemosensitivity or a lack of central integration of chemosensitive afferent information. This may be in part due to the relative immaturity of this species at birth, compared to other mammals.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:chemoresponse; respiration; marsupial; neonatal development
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Biochemistry and cell biology
Research Field:Systems biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Simpson, SJ (Ms Shannon Simpson)
UTAS Author:Frappell, PB (Professor Peter Frappell)
ID Code:83124
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2013-03-01
Last Modified:2018-03-17

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