Carotid body: A new target for rescuing neural control of cardiorespiratory balance in disease

Robert S. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Significant insight into the mechanisms involved in chronic heart failure (CHF) have been provided by Schultz and his associates at the University of Nebraska Medical Center with the use of pacing-induced heart failure rabbits. Critical among the CHF mechanisms was the role of the carotid body (CB). The stimulated CB produces a wide array of systemic reflex responses; certainly those in the cardiopulmonary (CP) system are the most important in CHF. This generates a question as to whether the CB could serve as a target for some kind of treatment to reestablish control of cardiorespiratory balance in CHF. Any treatment would have to be based on a solid understanding of the mechanisms of chemosensing by the CB as well as the transducing of that sensing into neural activity sent to the medullary centers and regions of autonomic outflow to the periphery. Two avenues of treatment could be to (1) silence or attenuate the CB's neural output pharmacologically and (2) excise the CBS. There is a long history of CB removal mostly as a remedy for chronic obstructive lung disease. Results have been inconclusive as to the effectiveness of this procedure. But if carefully planned, the procedure might be a helpful treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberArticle 304
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume5 AUG
StatePublished - 2014


  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Carotid body
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Control
  • Glomectomy
  • Removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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