• Donald Heath
  • Paul Smith


Although well over half a century has elapsed since the classic studies of de Castro (1928) and Heymans et al. (1930) revealed the carotid body to be the main peripheral arterial chemoreceptor, neither the mechanism of the process nor the identification of the transducer has yet been established. Throughout this book we give an account of the histological and ultrastructural features of the various tissue components of the glomus in health, at different ages throughout life, and in disease. In this chapter we consider the physiology of chemoreception and its relation to the cells, nerves and blood vessels of the carotid body. This affords us an opportunity to refer to part at least of the prodigious volume of research by many distinguished physiologists working in this field. It will become apparent that, in spite of all this intense activity, the precise mechanism of chemoreception is still far from being understood. It must also always be kept in mind that the carotid body may subserve other functions, perhaps of an endocrinological nature, in addition to that of chemoreception.


Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide Nerve Ending Carotid Body Chief Cell Glomus Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Heath
    • 1
  • Paul Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Liverpool Royal Liverpool University HospitalLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Department of PathologyLiverpoolUK

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