Relationship between carotid chemoreceptor activity and ventilation in the cat

Respir Physiol. 1975 Sep;24(3):267-86. doi: 10.1016/0034-5687(75)90018-3.


The steady-state stimulus-response relations between arterial P02 and PCO2 and the mean activity of carotid chemoreceptors (single and multi-fiber) and ventilation were simultaneously recorded in 48 anesthetized cats. The carotid chemoreceptor activity varied linearly with the increase of arterial PCO2, below and above the normal value, at any given level of arterial P02. A decrease in arterial P02 increased the activity of the carotid chemoreceptors and increased its sensitivity to changes in arterial PCO2, showing multiplicative stimulus interaction. The authors also found that the response in ventilation during hypoxia to changes in arterial PCO2 below the normal value was smaller than that to changes above it, unlike the response of carotid chemoreceptors. This arterial PCO2 quasi-threshold for ventilation was, therefore, not due to a corresponding threshold for the activity of the carotid chemoreceptors but to a central mechanism. Above the central PaCO2 threshold, the ventilatory response to changes in PaCO2 and Pa02 resembled that of chemoreceptors but the ventilation dependent on hypoxia was greater than that could be directly accounted for by the activity of peripheral chemorecepors. A multiplicative interaction between the activity of peripheral chemoreceptors and central CO2 excitation appears to play a role in the regulation of ventilation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Carotid Body / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Respiration*
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen