Carotid Body Hyperplasia

  • Donald Heath
  • Ross Jago
  • Paul Smith
Part of the Ettore Majorana International Science Series book series (PSLI)


The brilliant intuitative interpretation of the histology of the carotid body by de Castro in 1926 subsequently confirmed by the work of physiologists like Heymans et al (1930) and Comroe and Schmidt (1938), demonstrated conclusively that the carotid body has a chemoreceptor function. However, although half a century has passed since this discovery, the carotid body has been largely ignored by pathologists. Their interest in the organ is largely confined to its tumour, the chemodectoma, which has such a characteristic histological picture as to make it suitable for such exercises as the Final Practical Examination of the Royal College of Pathologists. Otherwise morbid anatomists have largely ignored the organ and it is exceptional to see the carotid bodies examined at necropsy even in a case of cardio-pulmonary disease. Little or nothing is written in undergraduate texts of pathology concerning the reactions of the carotid body in generalised disease and hence the ignorance is transmitted to the next generation. This has led to a peculiar imbalance in our knowledge of the carotid bodies. The physiologists have continued to carry out elegant and sophisticated studies on carotid bodies in animals but our knowledge of the condition of these organs in a wide range of diseases is meagre.


High Altitude Schwann Cell Carotid Body Systemic Hypertension Hypobaric Hypoxia 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Heath
    • 1
  • Ross Jago
    • 1
  • Paul Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of LiverpoolEngland

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