The neural control of breathing or ventilatory movements has attracted much attention over the years because of the persistence and reliability of the underlying motor rhythm. The persistence derives from the obvious need to provide a continuous exchange of gases between the tissues of the body and the surrounding air. The drive maintaining the rhythm must thus come either from receptors that monitor the levels of carbon dioxide in the inspired gases or from some monitor of its level in the tissues. Probably both effects occur together but the receptors responsible are not well identified. Nevertheless, the ventilatory motor pattern can be recorded as readily from an isolated central nervous system as it can from an intact locust.
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