Vocalrespiratory interactions in the parabrachial nucleus Academic Article uri icon


  • Vocal motor patterning in mammals depends on a network of midbrain and brainstem sensory-motor integration centers that coordinate activity in facial, laryngeal and respiratory muscles. The temporary subjugation of respiratory drive for vocalizing and the entrainment of vocal timing to respiratory rhythms are achieved by a combination of descending motor commands to the respiratory rhythm centers and an overlapping network of somatosensory feedback pathways from the larynx and respiratory system. The parabrachial nucleus is a pontine relay center for the integration of sensory feedback influences on normal breathing, and although its functioning is necessary for normal vocal behaviors the precise nature of its contributions are poorly understood. Here we provide a review of current theories about how the parabrachial nucleus may be facilitating and guiding the expression of vocal motor programs by acting as a state-dependent filter that modulates the normal functioning of respiratory reflexes during vocalization. Understanding how somatosensory feedback influences the dynamic properties of the mammalian vocal motor pathway is an essential step towards grasping the neural representation of speech motor control in the human brain. 2010 Elsevier B.V.

author list (cited authors)

  • Smotherman, M., Schwartz, C., & Metzner, W.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Smotherman, Michael||Schwartz, Christine||Metzner, Walter

publication date

  • January 2010