Hypoxic Redistribution of Iron and Calcium in the Cat Glomus Cells

  • Mieczyslaw PokorskiEmail author
  • Lidia Faff
  • Camillo Di Giulio
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 758)


Both iron and calcium are essential for the hypoxia sensing mechanisms in the carotid body. However, trafficking of both ions in chemoreceptor cells in response to hypoxia is unclear. In the present study we seek to determine iron and calcium redistribution patterns in response to hypoxia in the cat chemoreceptor cells. Four cats were used: two each exposed to normoxia (PaO2 = 90 mmHg) and hypoxia (PaO2 = 20 mmHg) for 40 min. Carotid bodies were dissected, 150 nm sections made and processed for the measurements of iron and calcium content in the intracellular organelles of chemoreceptor cells with an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The results show that iron was distinctly lower in the hypoxic than normoxic chemoreceptor cells’ cytoplasm. Conversely, calcium was increased in hypoxia, particularly in the nuclei and the dense-cored vesicles. These results highlight that regional distribution of iron does not coincide with calcium in glomus cells. Redistribution of both ions in response to hypoxia is congruous with their role in hypoxia-sensing. However, the exact determinants of iron/calcium redistribution patterns in glomus cells remain unsettled.


Calcium Carotid body Chemoreceptor cells Hypoxia Iron 



The X-ray spectroscopy was carried out at the Lab for Electron Microscopy, Leiden University in the Netherlands, where L.F. was a fellow at the time of the study. The authors are thankful to the Dutch collaborators for help in the measurements.

Conflicts of interest The authors declare no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mieczyslaw Pokorski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lidia Faff
    • 1
  • Camillo Di Giulio
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Respiratory Research, Medical Research CenterPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience and ImagingUniversity of Chieti-Pescara, ‘G. d’Annunzio’ChietiItaly

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