Hering-Breuer reflex

Alternative eponyms

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The reflex reactions originating in the lungs and mediated by the fibres of the vagus nerve: inflation of the lungs, eliciting expiration, and deflation, stimulating inspiration.

Description

The reflex reactions originating in the lungs and mediated by the fibres of the vagus nerve: inflation of the lungs, eliciting expiration, and deflation, stimulating inspiration. This was one of the first feedback mechanisms discovered in the physiological regulations.

By the very simple device of occluding the trachea at the end of an inspiration or expiration, Breuer and Hering were able to show that the lung contains receptors that detect the degree to which it is stretched. When the lung is distended by inspiration, nerve impulses arise in the lung and are transmitted to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Hering also described the central control mechanism for blood pressure which if abolished cause the «Hering waves».

Bibliography

  • K. E. K. Hering:
    Die Selbststeuerung der Athmung durch den Nervus vagus.
    Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch–naturwissenschaftliche Classe, Wien, 1868, 57 Band, II. Abtheilung: 672-677.
  • Josef Breuer:
    Die Selbststeuerung der Athmung durch den Nervus vagus.
    Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch–naturwissenschaftliche Classe, Wien, 1868, 58 Band, II. Abtheilung: 909-937.
  • J. Breuer:
    Über den psychischen Mechanismus hysterischer Symptome.
    Neurologisches Centralblatt, Leipzig, 1893; 12: 4.
  • A. Guz, M. I. M Noble, J. H. Eisele and D. Trenchard:
    Vagal Inflation in Man and Other Animals. In: Breathing: Hering-Breuer Centenary Symposium, R. Porter, Ed. London: J&A Churchill, 1970.

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