• Ventilatory responses during and following hypercapnic gas challenge are impaired in male but not female endothelial NOS knock-out mice

      Getsy, Paulina M; Sundararajan, Sripriya; May, Walter J; von Schill, Graham C; McLaughlin, Dylan K; Palmer, Lisa A; Lewis, Stephen J (Springer Nature, 2021-10-18)
      The roles of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in the ventilatory responses during and after a hypercapnic gas challenge (HCC, 5% CO2, 21% O2, 74% N2) were assessed in freely-moving female and male wild-type (WT) C57BL6 mice and eNOS knock-out (eNOS-/-) mice of C57BL6 background using whole body plethysmography. HCC elicited an array of ventilatory responses that were similar in male and female WT mice, such as increases in breathing frequency (with falls in inspiratory and expiratory times), and increases in tidal volume, minute ventilation, peak inspiratory and expiratory flows, and inspiratory and expiratory drives. eNOS-/- male mice had smaller increases in minute ventilation, peak inspiratory flow and inspiratory drive, and smaller decreases in inspiratory time than WT males. Ventilatory responses in female eNOS-/- mice were similar to those in female WT mice. The ventilatory excitatory phase upon return to room-air was similar in both male and female WT mice. However, the post-HCC increases in frequency of breathing (with decreases in inspiratory times), and increases in tidal volume, minute ventilation, inspiratory drive (i.e., tidal volume/inspiratory time) and expiratory drive (i.e., tidal volume/expiratory time), and peak inspiratory and expiratory flows in male eNOS-/- mice were smaller than in male WT mice. In contrast, the post-HCC responses in female eNOS-/- mice were equal to those of the female WT mice. These findings provide the first evidence that the loss of eNOS affects the ventilatory responses during and after HCC in male C57BL6 mice, whereas female C57BL6 mice can compensate for the loss of eNOS, at least in respect to triggering ventilatory responses to HCC.