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Respiratory neuroplasticity following carotid body denervation: Central and peripheral adaptations. Neural Regen Res 2012 May 15;7(14):1073-9 PMID: 25722697 PMCID: PMC4340020


Historically, the role of the carotid bodies in ventilatory control has been understated, but the current view suggests that the carotid bodies (1) provide a tonic, facilitory input to the respiratory network, (2) serve as the major site of peripheral O2 chemoreception and minor contributor to CO2/H(+) chemoreception, and (3) are required for ventilatory adaptation to high altitude. Each of these roles has been demonstrated in studies of ventilation in mammals after carotid body denervation. Following carotid body denervation, many of the compromised ventilatory "functions" show a time-dependent recovery plasticity that varies in the degree of recovery and time required for recovery. Respiratory plasticity following carotid body denervation is also dependent on species, with contributions from peripheral and central sites/mechanisms driving the respiratory plasticity. The purpose of this review is to provide a summary of the data pointing to peripheral and central mechanisms of plasticity following carotid body denervation. We speculate that after carotid body denervation there are altered excitatory and/or inhibitory neuromodulator mechanisms that contribute to the initial respiratory depression and the subsequent respiratory plasticity, and further suggest that the continued exploration of central effects of carotid body denervation might provide useful information regarding the capacity of the respiratory network for plasticity following neurologic injury in humans.

Author List

Hodges MR, Forster HV


Matthew R. Hodges PhD Associate Professor in the Physiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

View this publication's entry at the Pubmed website PMID: 25722697
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