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Acute oxygen sensing: diverse but convergent mechanisms in airway and arterial chemoreceptors

Chris Peers* and Paul J Kemp

Author Affiliations

University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

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Respiratory Research 2001, 2:145-149  doi:10.1186/rr51

Published: 22 March 2001


Airway neuroepithelial bodies sense changes in inspired O2, whereas arterial O2 levels are monitored primarily by the carotid body. Both respond to hypoxia by initiating corrective cardiorespiratory reflexes, thereby optimising gas exchange in the face of a potentially deleterious O2 supply. One unifying theme underpinning chemotransduction in these tissues is K+ channel inhibition. However, the transduction components, from O2 sensor to K+ channel, display considerable tissue specificity yet result in analogous end points. Here we highlight how emerging data are contributing to a more complete understanding of O2 chemosensing at the molecular level.

carotid body; chemoreceptor; hypoxia; neuroepithelial body; O2 sensing