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Carotid body oxygen sensing and adaptation to hypoxia

AuthorsLópez-Barneo, José ; Macías, David; Platero-Luengo, Aida; Ortega-Sáenz, Patricia; Pardal Redondo, Ricardo
KeywordsAcclimatization to hypoxia
Carotid body pathophysiology
Oxygen sensing
Neural crest-derived stem cells
Carotid body
Issue DateJan-2016
CitationPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology 468(1): 59-70 (2016)
AbstractThe carotid body (CB) is the principal arterial chemoreceptor that mediates the hyperventilatory response to hypoxia. Our understanding of CB function and its role in disease mechanisms has progressed considerably in the last decades, particularly in recent years. The sensory elements of the CB are the neuron-like glomus cells, which contain numerous transmitters and form synapses with afferent sensory fibers. The activation of glomus cells under hypoxia mainly depends on the modulation of O-sensitive K channels which leads to cell depolarization and the opening of Ca channels. This model of sensory transduction operates in all mammalian species studied thus far, including man. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the modulation of ion channel function by changes in the O level are as yet unknown. The CB plays a fundamental role in acclimatization to sustained hypoxia. Mice with CB atrophy or patients who have undergone CB resection due to surgical treatments show a marked intolerance to even mild hypoxia. CB growth under hypoxia is supported by the existence of a resident population of neural crest-derived stem cells of glia-like phenotype. These stem cells are not highly affected by exposure to low O tension; however, there are abundant synapse-like contacts between the glomus cells and stem cells (chemoproliferative synapses), which may be needed to trigger progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation under hypoxia. CB hypo- or hyper-activation may also contribute to the pathogenesis of several prevalent human diseases.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1007/s00424-015-1734-0
Identifierse-issn: 1432-2013
issn: 0031-6768
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