The Oxygen-Conserving Potential of the Trigeminocardiac Reflex

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Stimulation of the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve can trigger a complex response known as the diving response (DR). Universally expressed in all animals, the DR is targeted to enable them to survive anoxic conditions. In the response, severe hypoxia or anoxia, complex multisystem and multilevel changes diminish oxygen consumption and activate endogenous protective mechanisms. The salient features of the DR are apnea, bradycardia, and peripheral vasoconstriction. Bradycardia decreases myocardial oxygen consumption, peripheral vasoconstriction limits both the blood supply and oxygen use by "nonvital" organs. Although the brain's blood supply remains stable, neurogenic mechanisms diminish brain activity in order to decrease brain metabolism. Along with the slowing of oxygen consumption, neurogenic neuroprotective mechanisms are activated to increase the brain's tolerance of hypoxia at system and cellular levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTrigeminocardiac Reflex
EditorsTumul Chowdhury, Bernhard J. Schaller
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780128004210
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Anoxia
  • Diving response
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Fastigial nucleus
  • Hypoxia
  • Neurogenic neuroprotection
  • Oxygen-conserving reflex
  • Preconditioning
  • Rostral ventrolateral medulla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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