Targeting carotid body chemoreceptors as a therapeutic intervention

Emma N. Bardsley, Harold D. Schultz, Piotr Niewiński, Julian F.R. Paton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The size of a rice grain in humans, the carotid body chemoreceptors play a crucial role in respiratory and autonomic homeostasis. Strategically located at the bifurcation of both common carotid arteries, they sense blood gas composition. Stimulation of carotid bodies with hypoxia, such as occurs at high altitude, evokes increases in breathing, blood pressure, and autonomic activity. Numerous diseases including diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, and sleep apnea are all associated with carotid body dysfunction, and emerging translational evidence from animal models and humans indicates that selective carotid body intervention provides therapeutic benefit. This chapter reveals that the carotid body does not just sense hypoxia but is a convergent nodal sensor for a variety of blood borne signals regulating autonomic activity. Insights into mechanisms of its dysfunction have revealed that a level of organization within the carotid body may make interventions for treating disease highly targeted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPrimer on the Autonomic Nervous System, Fourth Edition
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780323854924
ISBN (Print)9780323854931
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • ATP
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • P2X3 receptors
  • Ribbon cable transmission
  • Sympathetic overdrive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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