The carotid body (CB) is an arterial chemoreceptor, bearing specialized type I cells that respond to hypoxia by closing specific K+ channels and releasing neurotransmitters to activate sensory axons. Despite having detailed information on the electrical and neurochemical changes triggered by hypoxia in CB, the knowledge of the molecular components involved in the signalling cascade of the hypoxic response is fragmentary. This study analyses the mouse CB transcriptional changes in response to low PO2 by hybridization to oligonucleotide microarrays. The transcripts were obtained from whole CBs after mice were exposed to either normoxia (21% O2), or physiological hypoxia (10% O2) for 24 h. The CB transcriptional profiles obtained under these environmental conditions were subtracted from the profile of control non-chemoreceptor adrenal medulla extracted from the same animals. Given the common developmental origin of these two organs, they share many properties but differ specifically in their response to O2. Our analysis revealed 751 probe sets regulated specifically in CB under hypoxia (388 up-regulated and 363 down-regulated). These results were corroborated by assessing the transcriptional changes of selected genes under physiological hypoxia with quantitative RT-PCR. Our microarray experiments revealed a number of CB-expressed genes (e.g. TH, ferritin and triosephosphate isomerase) that were known to change their expression under hypoxia. However, we also found novel genes that consistently changed their expression under physiological hypoxia. Among them, a group of ion channels show specific regulation in CB: the potassium channels Kir6.1 and Kcnn4 are up-regulated, while the modulatory subunit Kcnab1 is down-regulated by low PO2 levels.