Carbon Dioxide — Essential Ingredient for in vivo Carotid Body Chemotransduction

  • Machiko Shirahata
  • Tohru Ide
  • Robert S. Fitzgerald


The carotid body responds to the changes in arterial Po2, Pco2, and pH. Although different mechanisms have been suggested for the chemotransduction of hypoxia and hypercapnia in the carotid body, it is also true that the response of the carotid body to one stimuli is not totally independent of other stimuli. Several studies have shown that lowering arterial Pco2 can dramatically reduce the carotid body response to hypoxia2, 3, 4, 5. In addition, we have recently demonstrated that, whereas selective perfusion of the carotid body with hypoxic perfusate containing CO2/HCO3 - increased carotid chemoreceptor neural activity, perfusion with CO2/HCO3 --free hypoxic perfusate did not This suggested a crucial role for CO2/HCO3 - in hypoxic chemotransduction7. Pertinent to these studies a recent report showed that intracellular pH of the type I cell from the rat carotid body was very alkalotic in the CO2/HCO3 --free media1. Based on these findings we hypothesized that CO2/HCO3 - plays a fundamental role for the carotid body chemotransduction, possibly as an essential ingredient in the regulatory mechanisms of intracellular pH (pH/) in the chemosensitive unit. Decrease in CO2/HCO3 - would increase pH/ of the chemosensitive unit. Alkalinization of the unit would turn off the process of chemotransduction. We tested this hypothesis using a technique of in vivo selective perfusion of the carotid body.


Carotid Body Sodium Butyrate Krebs Ringer Bicarbonate Carotid Sinus Nerve HEPES Buffer Solution 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Machiko Shirahata
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tohru Ide
    • 1
  • Robert S. Fitzgerald
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Environmental Health SciencesThe Johns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Anesthesiology/Critical Care MedicineThe Johns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Environmental Health Sciences, Medicine, and PhysiologyThe Johns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA

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