Decrease in functional residual capacity during inspiratory loading and the sensation of dyspnea

Y. Kikuchi, W. Hida, T. Chonan, C. Shindoh, H. Sasaki, T. Takishima

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The purposes of the present study were to determine the changes in functional residual capacity (FRC) during inspiratory loading and to examine their mechanisms. We studied seven normal subjects seated in a body plethysmograph. In both graded inspiratory elastic (35, 48, and 68 cmH2O/l) and resistive (21, 86, and 192 cmH2O · I-1 · s) loading, FRC invariably decreased from control FRC and phasic expiratory activity increased. The reduction in FRC was greater with greater loads. A single inspiratory effort against an inspiratory occlusion at three different target mouth pressures (- 25, -50, and -75 cmH2O) and durations (1, 2, and 5 s) also resulted in a decrease in FRC with an increase in expiratory electromyogram activity in the following expiration. The decrease in FRC was greater with greater target pressure and duration. This decrease in FRC is qualitatively similar to that during inspiratory loaded breathing, and we suspect that the same mechanisms are at work. Because neither vagal nor chemoreceptor reflex can account for these responses, we suspect conscious awareness of breathing or behavioral control to be responsible. In an additional study, the sensation of discomfort of breathing during elastic loading decreased with a decrease in FRC. These results suggest that the reduced FRC may be due to behavioral control of breathing to reduce the sensation of dyspnea during inspiratory loading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787-1794
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • behavioral control of breathing
  • diaphragm
  • load compensation
  • respiratory muscles
  • respiratory optimization
  • respiratory sensation
  • thoracoabdominal configuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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