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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Responses of type I cells dissociated from the rabbit carotid body to hypoxia.

1. The carotid body chemoreceptors are stimulated in situ by hypoxia. We have studied type I cells freshly dissociated from the carotid body of the rabbit. We have used microfluorimetric and patch clamp techniques to examine the responses to hypoxia, to anoxia, and to metabolic inhibition. 2. NADH autofluorescence measured at both 400 and 500 nm increased rapidly and reversibly in response to anoxia or to cyanide (CN-), reflecting a change in mitochondrial metabolism. 3. Indo-1 was used to measure changes in intracellular calcium, [Ca2+]i. Anoxia reversibly increased [Ca2+]i from approximately 50-100 to approximately 200-450 nM in all cells tested. The response showed a striking temperature sensitivity. Responses to hypoxic stimuli were barely detectable at 17-20 degrees C, and were dramatically increased on warming to 36 degrees C. In contrast, responses to K(+)-induced depolarization were only slightly increased in rate of onset and recovery by warming. 4. The rise in [Ca2+]i originated largely from an intracellular store which was slowly depleted by exposure to nominally Ca2(+)-free solutions. Responses were unaffected by blockade of Ca2+ channels with organic (D600, verapamil) or inorganic (Co2+) blockers, by blockade of Na+ channels with tetrodotoxin (TTX), or by increasing action potential duration with tetraethylammonium (TEA). Responses to anoxia were increased by the increased [Ca2+]i loading that follows prior exposure to Ca2(+)-free solutions. 5. Responses to anoxia, to blockade of electron transport by CN-, and to the mitochondrial uncoupler, carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxy-phenylhydrazone (FCCP), were equivalent in amplitude. The response to anoxia was occluded by concurrent application of FCCP, suggesting that the Ca2+ originates from the same pool in each case. 6. At 35-36 degrees C, responses to graded levels of PO2 were also graded. Thresholds varied between cells, but were typically 30-50 mmHg. Stimulus-responses curves were essentially hyperbolic, increasing dramatically as the PO2 approached 0 mmHg. 7. The sensitivity of cells to hypoxic solutions was increased by acidification of the superfusate over the pH range from 7.3 to 6.85. 8. Cell-attached patch clamp recordings showed depression of spontaneous action potentials associated with a rise in [Ca2+]i during exposure to anoxic solutions. Whole-cell recordings showed that anoxia increased a voltage-gated gK as described previously for CN-, while producing no change in resting conductance. 9. These data suggest that the rise in [Ca2+]i originates largely from Ca2+ efflux from a mitochondrial pool.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Responses of type I cells dissociated from the rabbit carotid body to hypoxia. Biscoe, T.J., Duchen, M.R. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (1990) [Pubmed]
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