Postnatal maturation of carotid body and type I cell chemoreception in the rat

Owen S. Bamford, Laura M. Sterni, Michael J. Wasicko, Marshall H. Montrose, John L. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The site of postnatal maturation of carotid body chemoreception is unclear. To test the hypothesis that maturation occurs synchronously in type I cells and the whole carotid body, the development of changes in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration responses to hypoxia, CO2, and combined challenges was studied with fluorescence microscopy in type I cells and compared with the development of carotid sinus nerve (CSN) responses recorded in vitro from term fetal to 3-wk animals. Type I cell responses to all challenges increased between land 8 days and then remained constant, with no multiplicative O2-CO2 interaction at any age. The CSN response to hypoxia also matured by 8 days, but CSN responses to CO2 did not change significantly with age. Multiplicative O2-CO2 interaction occurred in the CSN response at 2-3 wk but not in younger groups. We conclude that type I cell maturation underlies maturation of the CSN response to hypoxia. However, because development of responses to CO2 and combined hypoxia-CO2 challenges differed between type I cells and the CSN, responses to these stimuli must mature at other, unidentified sites within the developing carotid body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L875-L884
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 20-5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Carbon dioxide
  • Development
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Stimulus interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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