Control of Respiration Respiration is controlled by these areas of the brain that stimulate the contraction of the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles. These areas, collectively called respiratory centers, are summarized here: The medullary inspiratory center, located in the medulla oblongata, generates rhythmic nerve impulses that stimulate contraction of the inspiratory muscles (diaphragm and external intercostal muscles). Normally, expiration occurs when these muscles relax, but when breathing is rapid, the inspiratory center facilitates expiration by stimulating the expiratory muscles (internal intercostal muscles and abdominal muscles). • The pheumotaxic area, located in the pons, inhibits the inspiratory center, limiting the contraction of the inspiratory muscles, and preventing the lungs from overinflating. • The apneustic area, also located in the pons, stimulates the inspiratory center,
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