Oxygen sensitive Kv channels in the carotid body

Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2007 Jul 1;157(1):65-74. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2007.01.022. Epub 2007 Mar 4.


Hypoxic inhibition of K(+) channels has been documented in many native chemoreceptor cells, and is crucial to initiate reflexes directed to improve tissue O(2) supply. In the carotid body (CB) chemoreceptors, there is a general consensus regarding the facts that a decrease in P(O2) leads to membrane depolarization, increase of Ca(2+) entry trough voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels and Ca(2+)-dependent release of neurotransmitters. Central to this pathway is the modulation by hypoxia of K(+) channels that triggers depolarization. However, the details of this process are still controversial, and even the molecular nature of these oxygen-sensitive K(+) (K(O2)) channels in the CB is hotly debated. Clearly there are inter-species differences, and even in the same preparation more that one K(O2) may be present. Here we recapitulate our present knowledge of the role of voltage dependent K(+) channels as K(O2) in the CB from different species, and their functional contribution to cell excitability in response to acute and chronic exposure to hypoxia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carotid Body / physiology*
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Potassium Channels