Denervation of Carotid Baro- and Chemoreceptors in Humans

Authors

  • Henri J. L. M. Timmers,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    • Corresponding author
      H. J. L. M. Timmers: Department of General Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, Geert Grooteplein Zuid 8, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Email: h.timmers@aig.umcn.nl

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  • Wouter Wieling,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Academic Medical Centre, PO Box 22660, 100DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • John M. Karemaker,

    1. Department of Physiology, Academic Medical Centre, PO Box 22660, 100DD Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Jacques W. M. Lenders

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Nijmegen, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Abstract

Experimental denervation in animals has shown that carotid baro- and chemoreceptors play an eminent role in maintaining blood pressure and blood gas homeostasis. Denervation of carotid sinus baro- and chemoreceptors in humans may occur as a complication of invasive interventions on the neck or after experimental surgical treatment in asthma. In this topical review, the short- and long-term effects of carotid baro- and chemoreceptor denervation on the control of circulation and ventilation in humans are discussed. Carotid baroreceptor denervation in humans causes a persistent decrease in vagal and sympathetic baroreflex sensitivity and an increase in blood pressure variability; however, carotid denervation does not lead to chronic hypertension. Therefore, although carotid baroreceptors contribute to short-term blood pressure control, other receptors are able to maintain normal chronic blood pressure levels in the absence of carotid baroreceptors. Conversely, carotid chemoreceptor denervation leads to permanent abolition of normocapnic ventilatory responses to hypoxia and reduced ventilatory responses to hypercapnia.

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