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This review explores forms of respiratory and autonomic plasticity, and associated outcome measures, that are initiated by exposure to intermittent hypoxia. The review focuses primarily on studies that have been completed in humans and primarily explores the impact of mild intermittent hypoxia on outcome measures. Studies that have explored two forms of respiratory plasticity, progressive augmentation of the hypoxic ventilatory response and long-term facilitation of ventilation and upper airway muscle activity, are initially reviewed. The role these forms of plasticity might have in sleep disordered breathing are also explored. Thereafter, the role of intermittent hypoxia in the initiation of autonomic plasticity is reviewed and the role this form of plasticity has in cardiovascular and hemodynamic responses during and following intermittent hypoxia is addressed. The role of these responses in individuals with sleep disordered breathing and spinal cord injury are subsequently addressed. Ultimately an integrated picture of the respiratory, autonomic and cardiovascular responses to intermittent hypoxia is presented. The goal of the integrated picture is to address the types of responses that one might expect in humans exposed to one-time and repeated daily exposure to mild intermittent hypoxia. This form of intermittent hypoxia is highlighted because of its potential therapeutic impact in promoting functional improvement and recovery in several physiological systems. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Shipra Puri, Gino Panza, Jason H Mateika. A comprehensive review of respiratory, autonomic and cardiovascular responses to intermittent hypoxia in humans. Experimental neurology. 2021 Jul;341:113709

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PMID: 33781731

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