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Yanfeng Ding, Yu-Long Li and Harold D. Schultz Role of blood flow in carotid body chemoreflex function in heart failure The Journal of Physiology 589

Article first published online: 23 DEC 2010 | DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.200584

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system hastens the rate of progression and severity of chronic heart failure (CHF). Chemically sensitive nerves in the carotid body (CB) that stimulate sympathetic nerve activity become overly active in CHF and contribute to this phenomenon. The stimulus for activation of these CB chemoreceptors is not known. Blood supply to tissues is impaired due to the failing heart. In this study we tested whether a chronic reduction in blood flow to the CB may contribute to altered CB chemoreceptor function. The results show that changes that occur in CB chemoreceptor function during CHF are identical to those that occur if blood flow is simply reduced to the CB for several weeks. The results suggest that chronic impairment of blood flow may be the key step in the pathophysiological events that cause sympathetic nervous system activation in heart failure.

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