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Neurotransmission in the carotid body: transmitters and modulators between glomus cells and petrosal ganglion nerve terminals

Brain Research Reviews
Publication Date
  • Nicotinic Acetylcholine-Receptors
  • Primary Sensory Neurons
  • N-Vitro
  • Chemosensory Activity
  • Catecholamine Efflux
  • Messenger-Rna
  • Type-1 Cells
  • Cat
  • Dopamine
  • Rat


The carotid body (CB) is the main arterial chemoreceptor. The most accepted model of arterial chemoreception postulates that carotid body glomus (type 1) cells are the primary receptors, which are synaptically connected to the nerve terminals of petrosal ganglion (PG) neurons. In response to natural stimuli, glomus cells are expected to release one (or more) transmitter(s) which, acting on the peripheral nerve terminals of processes from chemosensory petrosal neurons, increases the sensory discharge. Among several molecules present in glomus cells, acetylcholine and adenosine nucleotides and dopamine are considered as excitatory transmitter candidates. In this review, we will examine recent evidence supporting the notion that acetylcholine and adenosine 5'-triphosphate are the main excitatory transmitters in the cat and rat carotid bodies. On the other hand, dopamine may act as a modulator of the chemoreception process in the cat, but as an excitatory transmitter in the rabbit carotid body

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