Chemosensory Control of the Respiratory Function

Working Towards Understanding the Role of ATP-Mediated Purinergic Signalling
  • Alexander V. Gourine
  • Nicholas Dale
  • K. Michael Spyer
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 551)


Respiratory drive is sensitive to small changes in arterial PO2 and PCO2 which are sensed by the peripheral chemoreceptors located within the carotid and aortic bodies and by central chemoreceptors localised within the brain (Gonzalez et al., 1994; Daly, 1997; Nattie, 1999; Prabhakar, 2000). In adult mammals type I (glomus) cells of the carotid body are the primary peripheral chemosensitive elements which detect changes in arterial PO2 (Gonzalez et al., 1994; Prabhakar, 2000) and transmit this information to the afferent nerve fibres of the carotid sinus nerve, which in turn relays to the brainstem respiratory centres to produce adaptive changes in ventilation. Levels of PCO2 are monitored predominantly by the central chemoreceptors localised within the medulla oblongata (primarily at, or in close proximity to, the ventral medullary surface [Loeschcke, 1982]), as up to 80% of the CO2-evoked ventilatory response is mediated by the action of CO2 at the brainstem chemosensitive sites (Heeringa et al., 1979).


Carotid Body Ventilatory Response Carotid Sinus Nerve Central Chemoreceptor Inspiratory Neurone 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander V. Gourine
    • 1
  • Nicholas Dale
    • 2
  • K. Michael Spyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyRoyal Free and University College London Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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