Carotid body and metabolic syndrome: Mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets

Lenise J. Kim, Vsevolod Y. Polotsky

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The carotid body (CB) is responsible for the peripheral chemoreflex by sensing blood gases and pH. The CB also appears to act as a peripheral sensor of metabolites and hormones, regulating the metabolism. CB malfunction induces aberrant chemosensory responses that culminate in the tonic overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympatho-excitation evoked by CB may contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, inducing systemic hypertension, insulin resistance and sleep-disordered breathing. Several molecular pathways are involved in the modulation of CB activity, and their pharmacological manipulation may lead to overall benefits for cardiometabolic diseases. In this review, we will discuss the role of the CB in the regulation of metabolism and in the pathogenesis of the metabolic dysfunction induced by CB overactivity. We will also explore the potential pharmacological targets in the CB for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5117
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020


  • Carotid body
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Hypertension
  • Leptin
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Sleep-disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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