Divergent postnatal development of the carotid body in DBA/2J and A/J strains of mice

Eric W. Kostuk, Alexander Balbir, Koichi Fujii, Akiko Fujioka, Luis E. Pichard, MacHiko Shirahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that the adult DBA/2J and A/J strains of mice differ in carotid body volume and morphology. The question has arisen whether these differences develop during the prenatal or postnatal period. Investigating morphological development of the carotid body and contributing genes in these mice can provide further understanding of the appropriate formation of the carotid body. We examined the carotid body of these mice from 1 day to 4 wk old for differences in volume, morphology, and gene expression of Gdnf family, Dlx2, Msx2, and Phox2b. The two strains showed divergent morphology starting at 1 wk old. The volume of the carotid body increased from 1 wk up to 2 wk old to the level of 4 wk old in the DBA/2J mice but not in the A/J mice. This corresponds with immunoreactivity of LC3, an autophagy marker, in A/J tissues at 10 days and 2 wk. The differences in gene expression were examined at 1 wk, 10 days, and 2 wk old, because divergent growth occurred during this period. The DBA/2J's carotid body at 1 wk old showed a greater expression of Msx2 than the A/J's carotid body. No other candidate genes showed consistent differences between the ages and strains. The difference was not seen in sympathetic cervical ganglia of 1 wk old, suggesting that the difference is carotid body specific. The current study indicates the critical postnatal period for developing distinctive morphology of the carotid body in these mice. Further studies are required to further elucidate a role of Msx2 and other uninvestigated genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)490-500
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Morphometry
  • Neurotrophic factors
  • Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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