A respiration-locked activity in the olfactory brain, mainly originating in the mechano-sensitivity of olfactory sensory neurons to air pressure, propagates from the olfactory bulb to the rest of the brain. Interestingly, changes in nasal airflow rate result in reorganization of olfactory bulb response. Therefore, if the respiratory drive of the brain originates in nasal airflow movements, then it should vary with respiration dynamics that occur spontaneously during natural conditions. We took advantage of the spontaneous variations of respiration dynamics during the different waking and sleep states to explore respiratory drive in various brain regions. We analyzed their local field potential activity relative to respiratory signal. We showed that respiration regime was state-specific, and that quiet waking was the only vigilance state during which all the recorded structures can be respiration-driven whatever the respiration frequency. We used a CO2-enriched air to change the respiratory regime associated to each state and, using a respiratory cycle-by-cycle analysis, we evidenced that the large and strong brain entrainment during quiet waking was the consequence of its associated respiration regime consisting in an optimal trade-off between deepness and duration of inspiration. These results show for the first time that changes in respiration regime alter the cortical dynamics and that the respiratory regime associated with rest is optimal for respiration to drive the brain.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience