The coordination and interaction between respiration and deglutition in young pigs

R. Z. German, A. W. Crompton, A. J. Thexton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The anatomical pathways for inspired air and ingested food cross in the pharynx of mammals, implying that breathing and swallowing must be separated either in space or in time. In this study we investigated the time relationship between swallowing and respiration in young pigs, as a model for suckling mammals. Despite the high morphological position of the larynx in young mammals, allowing liquid to pass in food channels lateral to the larynx, respiration and swallowing are not wholly independent events. Although, when suckling on a veterinary teat, the swallows occurred at various points in the respiratory cycle, there was always a period of apnea associated with the swallow. Finally, an increase in the viscosity of the milk altered this coordination, changing respiratory cycle length and also restricting the relative rate at which swallows occurred in some parts of the respiratory cycle. These results suggest that the subsequent changes in respiratory activity at weaning, associated with passage of a solid bolus over the larynx, is preceded by the ability of the animal to alter coordination between respiration and swallowing for a liquid bolus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-547
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Breathing
  • Mammal
  • Respiration
  • Suckling
  • Swallowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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