Absent peripheral chemosensitivity in Prader-Willi syndrome

D. Gozal, R. Arens, K. J. Omlin, S. L.D. Ward, T. G. Keens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Abnormalities in ventilatory control during wakefulness and sleep have been observed in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The role of peripheral chemoreceptors in the pathophysiology of abnormal ventilatory responses in PWS is unknown. We studied peripheral chemoreceptor function during wakefulness in 17 genetically confirmed PWS patients [age 27.0 ± 2.5 (SE) yr; 7 males, 10 females; body mass index 31.1 ± 1.4 kg/m2] and compared their responses with 17 control subjects matched for age, sex, and body mass index. All PWS and control subjects had normal resting end-tidal PCO2 and arterial O2 saturation while awake. Peripheral chemoreceptor function was assessed by the ventilatory responses to 100% O2 breathing, five tidal breaths of 100% N2, and vital capacity breaths of 15% CO2 in O2. Control subjects decreased minute ventilation (V̇E) by 15.5 ± 3.6% during hyperoxia. However, PWS patients increased V̇E by 17.6 ± 3.3%, indicating a paradoxical response to hyperoxia (P < 0.00001). After CO2 vital capacity breaths, PWS patients showed no significant change and control subjects showed a marked increase (P < 0.0001) in V̇E. During N2 breathing, again PWS patients showed no change and control subjects exhibited a marked increase (P < 0.00005) in V̇E. We conclude that PWS patients have absent peripheral chemoreceptor ventilatory responses. We speculate that the lack of ventilatory responses is due to primary peripheral chemoreceptor dysfunction and/or defective afferent pathways to central controllers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2231-2236
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • hypercapnia
  • hyperoxia
  • hypoxia
  • respiratory control
  • ventilatory responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Absent peripheral chemosensitivity in Prader-Willi syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this