Acute Oxygen Sensing by the Carotid Body: A Rattlebag of Molecular Mechanisms

Document Type


Publication Date



The molecular underpinnings of the oxygen sensitivity of the carotid body Type I cells are becoming better defined as research begins to identify potential interactions between previously separate theories. Nevertheless, the field of oxygen chemoreception still presents the general observer with a bewildering array of potential signalling pathways by which a fall in oxygen levels might initiate Type I cell activation. The purpose of this brief review is to address five of the current oxygen sensing hypotheses: the lactate–Olfr 78 hypothesis of oxygen chemotransduction; the role mitochondrial ATP and metabolism may have in chemotransduction; the AMP‐activated protein kinase hypothesis and its current role in oxygen sensing by the carotid body; reactive oxygen species as key transducers in the oxygen sensing cascade; and the mechanisms by which H2S, reactive oxygen species and haem oxygenase may integrate to provide a rapid oxygen sensing transduction system. Over the previous 15 years several lines of research into acute hypoxic chemotransduction mechanisms have focused on the integration of mitochondrial and membrane signalling. This review places an emphasis on the subplasmalemmal–mitochondrial microenvironment in Type I cells and how theories of acute oxygen sensing are increasingly dependent on functional interaction within this microenvironment.



Find in your library

Off-Campus WSU Users