Differentiation of respiratory behaviour in the mammalian fetus [ 2000 - 2002 ]

Also known as: Development of the ability to breathe

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: A/Pr Philip Berger (Principal investigator)

Brief description Mammalian fetuses are highly active from early in gestation, manifesting patterns of activity that are gradually transformed throughout fetal life, ultimately producing a repertoire of behaviours essential for postnatal survival. These behaviours are of fundamental importance to animals, and none more so than breathing which must perform effectively from the moment of birth. We plan to examine neural control mechanisms that transform a primitive pattern of breathing in the early gestation fetus into the functional form that effectively ventilates the lungs after birth. In addition to examining the prenatal development of breathing, our program will focus on the developmental fate of a transient behaviour restricted to early development. This early behaviour plays a fundamental role in the development of the motor system before being extinguished under the influence of supraspinal inputs. This program will therefore provide a basis for understanding the mechanisms by which the brain establishes control of the motor circuits of the spinal cord during development. Further, the program is designed to provide a basis for understanding the respiratory problems so common in the preterm human infant.

Funding Amount $AUD 434,839.74

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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