Oxygen sensing: applications in humans

Journal of Applied Physiology
Neil S Cherniack


Our concepts of oxygen sensing have been transformed over the years. We now appreciate that oxygen sensing is not a unique property limited to "chemoreceptors" but is a common property of tissues and that responses to changes in oxygen levels are not static but can change over time. Respiratory responses initiated at the carotid body are modified by the excitatory and depressant effects of hypoxia at the brain and on the pathways connecting the carotid body to the brain. Equally important is that we are beginning to use our understanding of the cellular and molecular pathways triggered by hypoxia and hyperoxia to identify therapeutic targets to treat diseases such as cancer. We also have a better understanding of the complexities of the human respiratory responses to hypoxia; however, major deficiencies remain in our ability to alter or even measure human ventilatory responses to oxygen deficiency.


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