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Signalling mechanisms of long term facilitation of breathing with intermittent hypoxia

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Intermittent hypoxia causes long-term facilitation (LTF) of respiratory motor nerve activity and ventilation, which manifests as a persistent increase over the normoxic baseline for an hour or more after the acute hypoxic ventilatory response. LTF is likely involved in sleep apnea, but its exact role is uncertain. Previously, LTF was defined as a serotonergic mechanism, but new evidence shows that multiple signaling pathways can elicit LTF. This raises new questions about the interactions between signaling pathways in different time domains of the hypoxic ventilatory response, which can no longer be defined simply in terms of neurochemical mechanisms.

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