Evidence against a subcortical gate preventing conscious detection of respiratory load stimuli Academic Article uri icon


  • Respiratory related evoked potentials (RREP) were used to examine respiratory stimulus gating. RREPs produced by consciously detected vs. undetected loads, near the detection threshold, were compared. Participants (n = 17) were instrumented with EEG and a nasal mask connected to a loading manifold, which presented a range of mid-inspiratory resistive loads, plus a control, in a random block design. Participants were cued prior to the stimulus and signalled detection by a button press. There were statistically significant differences in peak-to-peak amplitude of the P1 RREP peak for detected (mean ± SD; 3.86 ± 1.45 μV; P =  0.020) and undetected loads (3.67 ± 1.27 μV; P =  0.002) vs. control (2.36 ± 0.81 μV), although baseline-to-peak differences were not significantly different. In contrast peak-to-peak P3 amplitude was significantly greater for detected (5.91 ± 1.54 μV; P <  0.001) but not undetected loads (3.33 ± 0.98 μV; P = 0.189) vs. control (3.69 ± 1.46 μV), with the same pattern observed for baseline-to-peak measurements. The P1 peak, thought to reflect arrival of somatosensory information, appeared to be present in response to both detected and undetected loads, but the later P3 peak, was present for detected loads only. This suggests that for sub-threshold loads sensory information may reach the cortex, arguing against a sub-cortical gating process.


  • Ruehland, Warren R
  • Rochford, Peter D
  • Trinder, John
  • Spong, Jo Lene L
  • O'Donoghue, Fergal J

publication date

  • 2019