Chemoreceptors, Breathing, and Sleep

  • John L. CarrollEmail author
  • Supriya K. Jambhekar
  • David F. Donnelly
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


Oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) chemoreception is highly relevant to multiple areas of sleep medicine. Patients with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) may experience hypoxia during sleep, often nightly in an episodic pattern called “chronic intermittent hypoxia” (CIH), which in turn may lead to major cardiovascular complications. Some patients with SDB hypoventilate during sleep and develop hypercapnia. Hypoxemia and hypercapnia mediate, in part, arousal responses to abnormal breathing during sleep. In this chapter, we review the role of O2 and CO2 chemoreceptors in breathing control, the basic physiology of O2 and CO2 sensing, and the role of chemoreceptors in sleep-related breathing disorders, all in a developmental context. This chapter also discusses a variety of disorders associated with sleep problems, from congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) to Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS), which are associated with abnormal chemoreceptor function.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome Carotid Body Ventilatory Response Nucleus Tractus Solitarius 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • John L. Carroll
    • 1
    Email author
  • Supriya K. Jambhekar
    • 2
  • David F. Donnelly
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Physiology and BiophysicsArkansas Children’s HospitalLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine,Department of PediatricsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Department of PediatricsYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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