• Goshgarian HG (2003). Plasticity in Respiratory Motor Control: Invited Review: The crossed phrenic phenomenon: a model for plasticity in the respiratory pathways following spinal cord injury. J Appl Physiol 94:795-810. Summary: Hemisection of the cervical spinal cord rostral to the level of the phrenic nucleus interrupts descending bulbospinal respiratory pathways, which results in a paralysis of the ipsilateral hemidiaphragm. In several mammalian species, functional recovery of the paretic hemidiaphragm can be achieved by transecting the contralateral phrenic nerve. The recovery of the paralyzed hemidiaphragm has been termed the "crossed phrenic phenomenon." The physiological basis for the crossed phrenic phenomenon is as follows: asphyxia induced by spinal hemisection and contralateral phrenicotomy increases central respiratory drive, which activates a latent crossed respiratory pathway. The uninjured, initially latent pathway mediates the hemidiaphragm recovery by descending into the spinal cord contralateral to the hemisection and then crossing the midline of the spinal cord before terminating on phrenic motoneurons ipsilateral and caudal to the hemisection. The purpose of this study is to review work conducted on the crossed phrenic phenomenon and to review closely related studies focusing particularly on the plasticity associated with the response. Because the review deals with recovery of respiratory muscles paralyzed by spinal cord injury, the clinical relevance of the reviewed studies is highlighted. Department of Anatomy/Cell Biology, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201.