Nitric Oxide Deficit Is Part of the Maladaptive Paracrine-Autocrine Response of the Carotid Body to Intermittent Hypoxia in Sleep Apnea

  • M. L. FungEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 860)


The carotid body functions to maintain the blood gas homeostasis, whereas anomalous carotid chemoreceptor activities could be pathogenic in patients with sleep apnea. Recent findings suggest an upregulation of renin-angiotensin system (Lam SY, Liu Y, Ng KM et al. Exp Physiol 99:220–231, 2014), which could lead to inflammation in the carotid body during intermittent hypoxia (Lam SY, Liu Y, Ng KM et al. Histochem Cell Biol 137:303–317, 2012). In addition, the level of nitric oxide detected in the carotid body was significantly decreased following intermittent hypoxia for days. These locally regulated mechanisms are proposed to be a significant part of the hypoxia-mediated maladaptive changes of the carotid body, which could play a role in the pathophysiological cascade of sleep apnea in patients with an overactivity of the chemoreflex.


Chemoreceptor NO synthase Obstructive sleep apnea 



I thank Ms Meifang Li and Mr Y. M. Lo for their technical assistance. Studies were supported by grants from the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong (Grant No. HKU 766110 M, HKU 7510/06 M) and internal funding and conference grant from the University Research Committee, The University of Hong Kong.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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