chapter  1
18 Pages

Peripheral Chemoreceptors: Sensors of Metabolic Status

WithColin A. Nurse

The mammalian carotid body (CB) is a major peripheral chemoreceptor organ that helps in maintaining the chemical composition of arterial blood via the control of respiration. Consistent with its ability to sense bloodborne chemical stimuli, as originally suggested by the earlier studies of DeCastro, the organ is richly innervated and is supplied by an elaborate vascular network that has earned it the reputation as the tissue with the highest blood flow per unit weight [1,2]. Despite their small size, ranging from a few hundred microns to a few millimeters depending on species, these bilaterally paired organs occupy a strategic location near the carotid bifurcation, at the junction where the common carotid artery divides into its internal and external branches, supplying blood to the brain.